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Full text of "The origins of Christianity, with an outline of Van Manen's analysis of the Pauline literature"

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THE OEIGINS OF CHEISTIANITY 



—Eur. Hel. 1617. 



Nihil enim in speoiem fallacias est gaam prava religio. 

— Liv. xxziz. 16. 



THE 



ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



AN OUTLINE OF VAN MANEN'S ANALYSIS OF 
THE PAULINE LITEEATURE 



BY 



THOMAS SHITTAKER, 

Author of ''The Neo-PlatonUt$,'' etc. 



(issued fob the bationalist press association, limitbd) 



WATTS & CO., 
17, JOHNSON'S COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON, E.G. 
1904 



CONTENTS 



Fbeface 



PAGE 



THE OEIGINS OF CHEISTIANITY 

1. — Biblical Cbiticism and its Vebitication - • 1 

2. — The Chubch-State op Judjea • - • 7 

3.— Post-Biblical Eschatology op the Jews • • 11 

4.— Alexakdbian Judaism • • . - • 15 

5.— The Pbepabation foe the Gospel - - • 18 

6.— The Destbuction op Jebusalem and its Consequences 29 

7.— The Anti-Hellenic Reaction ... 36 

8.— Paulinism - - - • - • 43 

9.— The Catholic Chuech - - - - 49 

10.— The Lateb Histoby op Paulinism - • • 54 

11.— Philosophy against Revealed Religion • • 58 

12.— Conclusion ...... 62 



278846 



vi 



CONTENTS 



VAN MANEN ON THE PAULINE LITEBATUEE 



Part I. 




THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 






FAGB 


Intboduction ..... 


67 


Section I. 




THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 




1.— The Unity of the Work .... 


67 


2.— Its Composition - * . 


70 


3. — Sources 




Pauline Letters ..... 


77 


The Itinerary ..... 


78 


Acts of Paul ..... 


81 


Acts of Peter ..... 


86 


Josephus ..... 


87 


4 — General View of the Use of Sources 


89 


6.— The Author's Aim .... 


90 


6.— His Personality ..... 


91 



Sbction II. 
PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS 



The Representation of Luke • 
The Acts of Paul 
The Itinerary 
Conclusion • 



98 

95 

99 

100 



CONTENTS 



vii 



Past II. 
THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 











PAGE 


Intboduction 


- 




104 


1.- 


-The Nature of the Work 


- 




106 


2.- 


—The Unity of the Book . 


- 




107 


3.- 


—Its Composition 


- 




108 




A, — Traces of Juncture and Manipulation 




108 




The Address ; i. 1-7 


- 




108 




Introduction : 1. 8-17 


- 




110 




First Part : i. 18-viii. 39 - 


- 




111 




Second Part: ix.-xi. 


- 




113 




Third Part : xii.-xv. 13 - 


- 




115 




Conclusion : xv. 14-xvi. 27 


- 




116 




J3.— Witnesses for the Existence of 


a Shorter 






Epistle - • - 


- 


- 


116 




C— General View 


- 


- 


119 


4.. 


—Whence Came the Epistle? 










il.— Significance of the Preceding Investigation 


119 




B.— Improbability of the Tradition 






120 




C— Indications of a Later Time 






121 




Doctrinal Utterances 






121 




Acquaintance with Paulinism 






126 




Affinity with Gnosis 






127 




The Community - 






129 




Persecutions 






130 




The Bejection of Israel - 






131 




Faults in the Form 






131 




Written Gospels - 






132 




Books of Acts 






133 




D.— Nationality of the Author - 






134 




E.— Attempts at Parrying Difficulties 






136 




F.— Arguments for Genuineness 






136 




(t. — Conjectural Mode of Origin 






138 



vUi 



CONTENTS 



5. — Justification of the Proposed Explanation 


144 


Paul in Acts .... 


145 


The Younger Contemporary of Peter 




146 


Galilee and Jerusalem - 






146 


The Old Testament 






147 


Agreement and Difference 






148 


The History of the Apostolate 






148 


The Bevelation of John 






149 


The Fourth Gospel 






161 


The Preaching of Peter 






151 


Philo . 






152 


Seneca - - - . 






153 


Justin - 






163 


IrensBus • - ^ - 






154 


Tertullian 






155 


The Clementines 






156 


Peter and Paul at Rome 






156 


The Christmas Festival 






168 


The Development tif Christianity 




169 


6.— The Antiquity of the B(x>k 






161 



CONTENTS 



Past HI, 
THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 



Intboduction 



PAGE 

163 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 




1.— The Nature of the Work 


163 


2 — The Unity of the Book - * - 


164 


8.— Its Composition 




A. — ^Traces of Juncture and Manipulation 


165 


B — Witnesses for the Existence of a Shorter 


Epistle < ^ 


171 


C— Conclusion 


172 


4.— Whence Came the Epistle ? V 




il.^Significance of the Preceding Investigation 174 


JB.— Improbability of the Tradition - 


174 


The Occasion of the Writing 


175 


The Belation between Paul and the Conn 




thians .... 


176 


The Community • 


178 


Parties «... 


179 


Opponents . . - - 


180 


C. — Indications of a Later Time 




Paul a Power . - , . 


181 


The Conununity no longer Young 


182 


Doctrinal Utterances . ." .. 


183 


Some Special Points 


185 


A Written Gospel .... 


186 


Books of Acts .... 


187 


D.—NationaUty of the Author - 


187 


JE?.— Attempts at Parrying Difficulties - 


189 


F.— Arguments for Genuineness 


190 



CONTENTS 



G.— Conjectural Mode of Origin 
Lost Letters of Paul 


PAOB 

190 


Paulinism .... 


191 


The Author 


194 


Belation to Bomans 


195 


Determination of Date 


196 


THE SECOND EPISTLE 




1 .—Character— Unity— Composition 

A, — Traces of Juncture and Manipulation 
B.— Witnesses for the Eidstence of Shortei 
Epistles . . . . 
C — Conclusion . . . - . 


196 

198 

199 
200 


2.— Whence Came the Epistle? 

^.—Improbability of the Tradition 
The Occasion of the Writing 
The Belation between Paul and the Conn 


201 
201 
201 


thians .... 


203 


Opponents 
B.— Indications of a Later Time 


204 


Paul .... 


206 


The Community - 

Doctrinal Utterances . . 


208 
209 


The Collection 


211 


Special Points . . . . 
Books of Acts 


211 
212 


C— Attempts at Parrying Difficulties - 
D.— Conjectural Mode of Origin 
The Author and his Aim - 


213 
213 


Belation to th6 First Epistle 
Determination of Date 


215 
215 



PEEFACE 



Afteb reading the celebrated article on "Paul" in the 
third volume of the Encydopadia Biblica, my thought was 
that, if the conclusions stated could be established by 
analysis, then Professor van Manen must be regarded as 
the Copernicus of New Testament criticism. To place the 
Pauline writings, along with the rest of the New Testa- 
ment, in the second century, would both remove an 
anomaly and make possible a consistent deduction of the 
process by which Christianity came into being. Study of 
his original work has, so far, confirmed my view. At the 
same time, I was under the impression that the result 
might be also to disclose a stratum of genuine historical 
tradition in the Gospel narrative. I did not, indeed, think 
that, for example, a single indubitable saying of Jesus could 
be determined. What I imagined might become a practic- 
able problem was to trace the <»riginal Judseo-Christian 
movement, as distinguished from Pauline or Gentile Chris- 
tianity, to an impulse from a personal teacher who had 
made a profound impression by his continuance of the 
effort of Hebrew prophecy towards universalising the 
mainly national ethics of older Hebraism. The actual 
Jesus would thus have been a teacher who did from a 
religious base what had already been done philosophically 
by the successors of Plato and Aristotle, and especially by 
the Stoics, who before the Christian era had quite definitely 
universalised the civic morality of an earlier phase of social 



xii PREFACE 



life. According to this view, the conception of Jesus as 
the Jewish Messiah, and afterwards as the Son of God in a 
special sense, did not proceed from himself, but from his 
followers and the succeeding generations. Paulinism was 
a form taken by an advancing movement of speculative 
theology among the Oreek-speaking Christian converts in 
Syria and Asia Minor. 

This is something like the view suggested by Professor 
van Manen himself ; though I am not aware that he has 
stated precisely what kind of teacher he conceives Jesus 
to have been. In one place he ascribes to the early 
" disciples " a conception of themselves as " dedicated to 
God " in an archaic religious sense, rather than anything 
that we should call a distinctively ethical reforming direc- 
tion. If this view is right, there can be no ground 
for attributing to Jesus himself any peculiar stress on 
an advanced ethical teaching. The period that lies before 
Paulinism is left, therefore, somewhat vague. Professor 
van Manen, in fact, keeps for the most part rigorously to 
his own problem of the origins of Paulinism, merely pro- 
viding himself with such an outline of the earlier growth of 
Christianity as seems hypothetically sufficient. 

That this outline furnishes a sufficient hypothesis I quite 
agree. A teacher to whom nothing can be authentically 
attributed but some undefined impulse on a succession of 
disciples, who afterwards put together, from Hebrew sources, 
the body of ethical jand religious sayings which we call the 
" teaching of Jesus," might conceivably, when his name was 
brought into a different social medium and he was person- 
ally forgotten, grow into the supernatural " Christ " of the 
Pauline school. If, however, we are to inquire resolutely into 
the origins of Christianity from the beginning, the question 
must be put: Is the hypothesis necessary as well as 



PKEFACE 



sufficient? The result of further consideration has been 
to convince me that it is not. I accept the conclusion 
recently set forth by Mr. J. M. Eobertson in a trilogy of 
able works, that the Gospel story is, to all intents and pur- 
poses, not merely legendary, but mythical. 

Mr. Eobertson's thesis, it seems to me, can even be 
carried further. He, too, has stopped short — as he points 
out that earlier critics have done — through not questioning 
the ecclesiastical tradition radically enough. He concedes 
that Christianity, as a distinctive sect, may have arisen 
about the time when it arose according to the authorised 
view of the Church ; that is to say, in the generation pre- 
ceding the destruction of Jerusalem. He holds, indeed, 
that at that time it was no more than a Jewish sect; though 
here Paulinism, if the Epistles attributed to Paul and im- 
plying his activity are genuine, would be at least an 
anomaly. Professor van Manen's Investigations, however, 
remove this difficulty. For his thesis can be perfectly well 
combined with Mr. Robertson's. This done, I contend that 
we must take an additional step in the negative direction. 
Before the fall of the Temple we must assume nothing at 
all corresponding to Christianity except an obscure cult — 
the evidence for which Mr. Eobertson has done much to 
bring to light — and an indeterminate Messianic movement. 
The quasi-historical life and death of Jesus, around which 
a new sect or sects came to cohere, did not take form till 
after the year 70. The period of gestation — of oral myth- 
making — lasted till about the end of the first century. 
Then began the production of the New Testament litera- 
ture — without exception pseudepigraphic — which was 
approximately completed by the middle of the second 
century. 

Anyone to whom these conclusions may seem startling 



PREFACE 



will do well to read in the light of them Kant's Religion 
innerlwlb der Grenzen der blosen Yemunfty where their 
general drift may be found philosophically anticipated. It 
is clear not only that Kant had studied the New Testament 
with that close attention which Matthew Arnold regretted 
that Hume had not seen fit to give to it, but that he had 
come to entirely negative conclusions, equally as regards 
the tradition embodied in the books and the tradition 
about them. He says distinctly that no historical value 
can be attached to the statements of Christian literature for 
the period before Christianity had a learned and critical 
public of its own; and that it had no such public till it 
emerged into the general life of the Roman Empire. And 
in detail he deliberately refrains from committing himself 
to the supposition that there is any historical basis |(rhat- 
ever for the legends he may use incidentally as the text for 
a religious philosophy. These are treated as simply what 
the society that was building up the new cosmopolitan 
religion desired to have believed by the faithful. His 
position that — in the total absence of real evidence — ^we are 
at liberty to devise the best interpretation we can of Chris- 
tian doctrine and teaching, so as to carry Christianity for- 
ward to the stage of a purely rational and ethical religion, 
could only seem permissible in a time less pre-occupied 
with historical problems than our own. The century that 
followed Kant, instead of putting aside such problems as 
irrelevant to a rational construction, threw itself with new 
zeal into investigations of the embryology of institutions. 
The results cannot, in the long run, be without bearing on 
the practical attitude of the world to existing religions. I 
hope the pages which follow may be of service towards the 
traditional task of English philosophy — ^that of " clearing 
the ground a little " for the scientific cultivators of the field. 



PREFACE 



My exposition of Professor van Manen is based on his 
great work Paulm, of which the three parts are : I. De 
Handelingen der Apostelen (1890) ; 11. De Brief aan de 
Romeinen (1891) ; III. De Brieven aande Korinthiers (1896). 
I have added a few notes, of which some, however, are 
only transferences of the more detailed evidence from the 
original text. Occasional reference is also made to the 
short Handleiding voor de Oudchristelijks Letterkunde (1900). 
As the exposition of Part 11. was written independently of 
Professor van Manen's article on " Eomans " in the Eney- 
clopcedia Biblica, Vol. IV., the two accounts should supple- 
ment one another. 

The introductory essay is an attempt to do more ex- 
plicitly what Biblical critics themselves do concurrently 
with their analytic work — ^namely, to deduce the order of 
events in outline according to the results reached by ex- 
amination of the documents. My method has been to take 
the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 — the conscious- 
ness of which pervades all the old Christian literature — ^as 
the pre-supposition of the development. Thus we are at the 
point of view of historical causation. The analysis having 
shown that all the documents are considerably posterior to 
the great catastrophe of Judaism, the synthesis ought to 
show how this was precisely the event which we must 
select as the cause — or as the indispensable occasion — of 
the peculiar conflux of elements that came together in the 
Christian Church. 



ERRATA 

Page 67, line 4 from bottom. For I. read 1. 

Page 70, line 7 from top. For II. redd 2. 

Page 109, line 10 from bottom. Delete comma after 
" writer." 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



i. — Biblical Criticism and its Verification. 

Ceitical analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures has 
resolved them, for the most part, into a stratification 
,-, of pseudepigraphic documents. This is a general 
^^ character not only of the religious literature of the 
East, but also of the incipient stages of our Western 
literature. We even find something like it in the 
scientific and philosophical text-books of later classical 
antiquity, though here the character is that of 
straightforward compilation ; there is no false ascrip- 
tion of authorship to saints and sages of old time. 
It must, therefore, always be remembered that, in 
applying the ancient and modern European norm of 
individual authorship to an Oriental religious litera- 
ture, we are more likely to be wrong than right. 
The Koran, which undoubtedly proceeded from a 
known person, Mohammed, is an exceptional case 
among the books that have been made the founda- 
tion of Eastern religions — that is, of all the great 
historic religions. 

Although the New Testament was written in Greek 
at a time long after individual authorship had become 
the norm in Greek literature, it clearly belongs to 
the Oriental type. Its ideas spring directly out of 
an Oriental religion ; and the literature that imme- 
diately preceded it in its own line — that is, the later 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



Jewish apocryphal literature with Messianic aspira- 
tions — is admitted to be entirely pseudepigraphic. It 
is worth noting that religious or semi-religious litera- 
ture in the West also has tended to this type. Take 
the case of the Orphic poems and of a large part of 
the compositions put forth by the Neo-Pythagorean 
school. The cultivated Greek mind, however, was 
critical in our sense of the term. It really cared 
to know whether a composition was by its alleged 
author ; not merely whether it was edifying. Hence, 
while modern criticism has been able to go further, 
ancient criticism had already detected the true char- 
acter of much of this literature. When lamblichus, 
writing in so credulous an age as the fourth century 
of our era, apologised for what some thought decep- 
tion on the part of the Neo-Pythagoreans, the state of 
the case was evidently well known. And his apology 
was exactly that of some modern Europeans, who 
have found it a merit in Eastern authors not to 
make so much of their individuality as we do ; not 
to put forward any personal claim for their thought. 
He argued that the procedure was to be commended 
as a sign of modesty. If we could be perfectly 
impartial, no doubt we should neither praise nor 
blame, but simply recognise that it is a mode of 
authorship normal in a different intellectual environ- 
ment. 

When a literature which has arisen in this way 
has become the basis of a great religion — especially of 
a religion still accepted in our time and country — the 
difficulties of the critic are of course increased. More 
stringent proof of the pseudepigraphic character of 
Moses is required than of Orpheus. The opponent 
of '* destructive criticism '' can hold to the formal 
possibility that the writings may belong to the time 



BIBLICAL CRITICISM AND ITS VERIFICATION 8 

supposed, even if the weight of the inductive evidence 
is against it. He can safely challenge the critic to 
produce the original manuscripts of the superimposed 
documents. It is evident that verification cannot be 
sought along this line. What, then, is the true 
method of verification, that which must at length 
carry general conviction if scientific culture does not 
relapse to a lower stage ? 

It is no other than the historical or "inverse 
deductive*' method formulated by Comte and Mill. 
A generalisation is made inductively from the facts of 
history. Then it is deduced by showing how the 
sequence of events was necessitated according to 
known laws of human nature. In the special case of 
Biblical criticism, a certain chronological order of 
books and portions of books, different from that tradi- 
tionally assigned, is inferred from analysis, linguistic 
and other. This order, and the sequence of historical 
facts derived from it, is then shown to make the 
process of history naturally or rationally intelligible, 
as the traditional account does not. 

By a method of which this is fundamentally the 
character, a conviction of the truth of what is called 
the higher criticism, so far as it relates to the Old 
Testament, has already been brought home to most 
of the minds that can be got to attend to it. " But," 
the more ingenious and obstinate traditionalists say 
to the higher critics, " you beg the question. You 
assume the absolute uniformity of nature. You will 
not allow any explanation that is not from natural 
causes. We, on the other hand, believe in super- 
natural interferences with the course of nature. Now 
we defy you to disprove a miracle by formal logic. 
Till you can reduce us to self-contradiction, we hold 
to the tradition of the religion in which we have been 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



brought up. And, as you see, we can do this without 
abandoning the use of reasoning. To insist that we 
must admit everywhere iron laws of nature is, out of 
scientific prejudice, to refuse us the right to prove our 
case even if there should be actual exceptions to 
natural law." 

To this the reply is that, of course, scientific method 
assumes the uniformity of nature; but that it does not 
absolutely exclude proof of miracles if they occurred. 
Suppose that in certain regions of time and space the 
assumption of uniformity now and then led us astray ; 
that we ran against empirical facts which reduced it 
to nonsense at certain points : then we should have to 
reconsider the question of its universal validity. 
Suppose, for example, that a priesthood affirms certain 
events not naturally explicable, and that we meet with 
specific confirmations of them which stand out from 
the mass of facts we can explain. Let us put the case 
that to reason from natural knowledge has led to 
manifest error about the formation of the earth or 
the events of Egyptian history ; whereas an account 
declared to be supernaturally revealed is supported by 
unexpected discoveries, and enables us to think the 
order of events with logical coherence, provided we 
dismiss the scientific prejudice in favour of uniformity. 
This would oblige us to reconsider our position, or at 
any rate to search for unknown laws. But how 
different, in the case in question, is the real state of 
affairs ! To point to the issue of the conflict between 
the quasi-scientific assertions, in cosmology, in geology, 
in ancient history, to which theologians have com- 
mitted themselves, and the unbroken career of science, 
almost savours of a past age. How a religion basing 
itself from the beginning on such assertions can live 
without them is not yet revealed; but we are to 



BIBLICAL CRITICISM AND ITS VERIFICATION 6 

understand that the Church no longer insists upon 
anything that can by any possibility come into con- 
flict with verified science ; and we are to forget that it 
ever did. We need not further trouble ourselves 
about apologetics grounded on an imaginary claim to 
have given a verifiable account of the universe. 

In fact, critical science has made just as triumphant 
progress as physical science. The postulate that the 
history of the Jews, like that of other races, is 
rationally explicable by natural causes, has led to 
constantly increased insight. From Spinoza in the 
seventeenth century to Wellhausen in the nineteenth, 
the movement has been comparable to any other 
scientific movement that can be named. Spinoza 
was successful in breaking down the supernaturalist 
assumptions by analysis, but he did not put forth a 
constructive theory which could give permanent satis- 
faction. He took the idea of the Hebrew common- 
wealth (respMica Hebraorum) too "statically"; 
reasoning as if a society fundamentally of the same 
type had existed all along. Modern criticism at 
length found the true solution in placing the realisa- 
tion of the type — so far as it ever was realised — at the 
end, and explaining it by development, under special 
circumstances, from a primordial state of things that 
was far less determinate. Those who redacted their 
sacred books during that late stage of the national 
life which we call the " theocracy '' threw back their 
ideal into the past ; ascribed the final legislative code 
to a supposed early lawgiver, ** Moses," to whom the 
law had been divinely revealed ; and, with a view to 
edification, attributed all the errors and misfortunes 
of the people to deviation from the imaginary revealed 
code placed at the beginning. In this process, how- 
ever, the late redactors did not wholly re- write the 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



earlier records on which they worked. Portions of 
the oldest Hebrew literature lie embedded as frag- 
ments with a newer structure around them. This 
mode of composition, carried on sometimes for a con- 
siderable length of time, has led to the existence of 
" historical " books, not merely of two, but of many 
strata ; each new stratum involving modifications in 
the history, according as the kind of edification aimed 
at varied from period to period. The more or less 
archaic fragments, the words of which had been 
preserved to a certain extent unmodified as already 
sacred, gave valuable clues to criticism, which could 
thus disentangle the extremely complex structure and, 
within limits, explain the process by which it arrived 
at the form in which it was fixed. 

This being the character of the Old Testament as 
literature and history, we should expect similar 
phenomena in the case of the New Testament, which 
is its direct descendant. And, a little later, critics 
are arriving at an equally thoroughgoing rejection of 
the tradition under which it has long been presented. 
What seems probable is that we shall find the teaching 
ascribed to the founder of the new religion and his 
apostles to be a result of gradual growth, thrown back 
in imagination to the beginning, like the ideal of the 
ancient theocracy. The question is. Will this hypo- 
thesis rationally explain the phenomena of stratifi- 
cation detected in the books by analysis? For 
undoubtedly the books do present such phenomena. 
They are not unitary compositions like those of a 
Greek or Roman historian, or even romancer. It will 
help to clear up the problem if we return to the 
history of the Hebrews, and try to set forth in brief 
outline some general results of criticism. 



THE CHURCH-STATE OF JUD^A 



2. — The Church-State of Judaea. 

The Jewish tfeeocracy, as it is called — that is, the 
direction of life by a priesthood speaking in the name 
of God and appealing to sacred books — was established 
under the Persian supremacy many years after the 
chiefs of the nation had been exiled to Babylonia on 
the conquest of Judaea by Nebuchadnezzar. The 
exiles, who in the meantime had come in contact with 
the civilisation of the New Babylonian Empire, must 
have been considerably influenced by it. Continuous 
as it was with the immensely long tradition repre- 
sented by the Assyrian and Old Babylonian monarchies, 
it stood for a far more elaborate system of life and 
thought than their own. The extent of the obligation 
has been partly made out by recent discoveries, but 
it is yet too early for definitive results to be stated. 
When the Babylonian dominion had given place to 
that of the kings of Persia, certain priestly reformers, 
inheriting the ideals of the prophetic movement that 
had preceded the exile and had gained some transitory 
political successes in Judsea, were allowed to rebuild 
the temple of the national God and to remodel the 
nation as a Church. From this and the following 
period dates not only the redaction of all the sacred 
literature, but the original composition of a great part 
of it. 

If the attempt is made to trace the history of the 
Hebrews before this time, the condition of the docu- 
ments puts many difficulties in the way; but it is 
historically certain that from the ninth century b.c. 
they had been divided into two kingdoms — the 
northern kingdom of "Israel" and the southern 
kingdom of "Judah." The former was overthrown 
by the Assyrian power near the end of the eighth 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



century; the latter had survived to the beginning of 
the sixth. An undivided " kingdom of Israel," described 
as having existed earlier, had probably been ruled 
in succession by the two Biblical kings, David and 
Solomon. The accounts of them, however, are much 
embellished ; and this portion of the record has not 
yet been confirmed by the monuments of the great 
empires then existing. It has been conjectured that 
about the twelfth century b.c. the Israelites formed 
part of a group of desert tribes making incursions on 
the cultivated land of Canaan. These tribes, having 
conquered territories for themselves, took to a settled 
life, and by degrees formed the nationalities we know 
as Israel, Edom, Moab, and Ammon. 

Anything earlier than this is legendary or altogether 
mythical. On the borders between Palestine and 
Egypt, Semitic tribes, the kindred of the Israelites, 
were from time to time subject to the Egyptian 
Government; but there is nothing whatever to confirm 
the story with which we are familiar of the captivity 
of Israel in Egypt and the exodus under Moses.^ 
When we go back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and 
the twelve patriarchs, we find ourselves in a region of 
mythical figures turned to literary account ; perhaps 
of old Semitic gods brought down to mortality. The 
effective beginnings of the literature scarcely date 
from an earlier period than the ninth century. From 
this period come the most archaic portions of the 
early books. 

The Israelites were originally polytheists, like the 
surrounding tribes ; but, like the others, they had 
their own tribal god. The God of Israel was at 
first worshipped with rites like those of Semitic 

1 C/. Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthwm, i. 



THE CHUBOHSTATE OF JUD^A 



" heathenism " generally. He was represented some- 
times by an image in the form of a man or of an ox. 
Under the name of ''the King" (Molech), he was 
propitiated in times of national calamity by rites 
of human sacrifice ; as was also Chemosh, the god 
of the kindred Moabites, and the Carthaginian 
deity whom the Greeks called Cronos. Among the 
Hebrews, however, there arose in the eighth century 
the reformers described as prophets. They claimed 
to speak in the name of Jehovah (as the God of 
Israel has long been called in European literature) ; 
denounced many immoral and inhuman cults as 
contrary to his will ; and more especially aimed at 
the extirpation of "idolatry** — that is, the represen- 
tation of Jehovah by any kind of image. He was 
pre-eminently a ** jealous god,** who would endure no 
other divinities beside him. Intolerance of other 
worships was for the Israelite a sacred duty. Of 
the kings who had not rigorously practised it, but 
had allowed foreign cults in their dominions (although 
they might worship Jehovah first), it was said later 
that they " did evil in the sight of the Lord.** 

The higher minds among the prophets succeeded 
at length — how early or how late it is difficult to say 
— in arriving at an ethical monotheism. Jehovah 
was the God of the universe ; there was no other 
god ; he rewarded righteousness and punished 
iniquity; he asked not for sacrifice. This concep- 
tion, it should be needless to point out, was never 
realised in the public religion. The actual achieve- 
ment of the prophets was, by forming an alliance 
with the priests of Jerusalem, to centralise the 
worship, to put down irregular local cults, and to 
get rid of " graven images.'* By the returning exiles 
from the sixth to the fifth century b.o. — the national 



10 THE OBIOINS OF GHBISTIANITT 

monarchy having disappeared — the State was identi- 
fied with "the congregation of the Lord.*' Pure 
theocracy was henceforth the ideal. A most elaborate 
system of sacrifice and ceremonial observance was 
established, and was declared in the name of Moses 
to be for all time. Jehovah was identified, as the 
higher prophets had identified him, with the God of 
the universe ; but he remained essentially an invisible 
king to be recognised by the State, demanding at the 
hands of his chosen people a perpetual service of 
bloodshed and burnt offering. ^ 

Nevertheless, an interest in questions of moral 
conduct went on apart from the sacrificial cult. 
These it was proposed to solve by application of " the 
law." There arose what has been called a system of 
" legal dialectic." The characteristic Jewish institu- 
tion of the Synagogue appeared. In the Rabbinic 
schools there seems to have been a relative freedom of 
moral and religious life analogous to that of Protes- 
tantism. The reforming movement, with its stress on 
the inward disposition, had not been in vain. Private 
judgment could be used in interpreting the sacred 
texts. The hierarchy did not grow into an anti- 
human organisation for the repression of thought. 
The conception of "heresy" had not yet been evolved. 
An elaborate cult was still unaccompanied by an 
elaborate creed. The deepest questions about human 
destiny might be put freely; and unshrinking dis- 
cussion of them was admitted in books that came to 
be regarded as sacred. 

As time went on the priestly families displayed 
tendencies to the type of a secular aristocracy. Among 
their members were afterwards the sceptical Sadducees. 
When Judaea, through the fall of the Persian Empire, 
came under the dominion of the Greek Kings of Syria, 



POST-BIBLICAL BSCHATOLOGY OF THE JEWS 11 

it needed a national uprising to prevent the hierarchs 
themselves — rather than the foreign king — from 
" Hellenising " their religion and institutions. The 
contest was fought out, in the second century e.g., 
between the ideals of a polished decadence and of 
exclusive theocracy; and the latter triumphed. Under 
the Maccabees national independence was won, though 
only to be lost again as the dissolution of Alexander's 
world-empire made way for the advance of Eome. 
Meanwhile, the distinctive line of spiritual life which 
ttie nation had marked out for itself was followed to 
new issues. 

3. — Post-Biblical Eschatology of the Jews. 

A famous work of the MaccabsBan age marks the 
transition to a new epoch. The Book of Daniel was 
written to encourage the pious Jews in their resistance 
to the Hellenising movement, started from within, 
but taken in hand with violent caprice by the Seleucid 
King Antiochus Epiphanes. The composition was 
attributed to the seer Daniel, a supposed Jewish exile 
in Babylon four hundred years before the date of the 
book. Much in it that purports to be prophecy is 
therefore an account of past events in symbolical 
form. It became the model of all later apocalypses, 
both for Jews and Christians. Pseudo-Daniel was 
not received into the number of the Jewish prophetic 
books, but only into the class of writings known as 
Hagiographa. The earliest critic to detect its real 
character was the philosopher Porphyry in his extensive 
work against the Christians, known to us now only by 
the references of ecclesiastical authors. 

Benan has described the Book of Daniel as a first 
attempt at a philosophy of history. The Jews, he 



12 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

remarks, were in a central position among the great 
empires, acted as intermediaries, and could observe 
their transformations from an external point of view. 
Thus they were prepared to see a general direction 
of the world-movement and to search for its law. 
The later apocalypses, with all their supernatural 
machinery, have something of the same wide outlook. 

The law of history, according to Daniel, is clearly 
the successive dissolution of the kingdoms of this 
world, to give place at last to the universal theocracy 
foretold by the prophets. And the dream was in a^ 
manner fulfilled ; though not by the Jews, not to 
their advantage, and not with the idyllic effect antici- 
pated in some of the prophecies. When their kingdom 
of God came, it brought " not peace, but a sword." 
There are indeed prophecies with the tone of which this 
was quite in unison ; but in many there prevails the 
hope that ** the nations ** will at length feel the attrac- 
tion of the pure religion revealed to Israel, and will 
voluntarily submit themselves to its ordinances. Israel 
is conceived as having for destiny to be a priesthood 
for the human race. And efforts were made in both 
directions. While peaceful proselytism was constantly 
going on, there was no scruple about making war on 
neighbouring peoples in a religious interest. During 
the time of Jewish independence the heathen inhabi- 
tants of Galilee were subjugated and converted to the 
temple- worship by force. What in general was looked 
for, however, was a catastrophic change brought to 
pass without human volition, as part of the design of 
God with the world. 

In the later period, the kingdom of God on earth 
was usually conceived as established by the ^* Messiah " 
— the " Anointed King " — a figure derived from various 
passages in the prophets, and not of wholly consistent 



POST-BEBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY OF THE JEWS 13 

attributes. Among the current inaginations were 
those of a Messiah ben David who was to be trium- 
phant, and of a Messiah ben Joseph who was to suffer. 
Occasionally also in the apocalyptic writers there is 
no deputed King or Messiah at all ; God rules directly. 
Traces of an anti-monarchical theocratic feeling like 
that of the Puritans, as we may learn from the 
canonical books themselves, were not unknown to the 
Jews. 

The suffering Messiah combined the ideas of the 
just man struggling with adversity and of the holy 
people persecuted by the heathen for adherence to the 
one true God. Both these modes of suffering had 
forced themselves as facts on the Jewish mind, and 
had contributed to modify the prevalent ideas on the 
destiny of the soul ; which, apart from external 
influences, seem to have undergone changes curiously 
parallel with those that went forward in a similarly 
spontaneous manner in Greece. 

As is well known, there is in the great period of 
Hebrew literature and religion practically nothing 
that has reference to personal immortality. The 
prophetic writers hold that the problem of divine 
justice finds its complete solution in earthly life, 
national or individual. It is not that they had con- 
sciously dismissed that '* animism" which is man's 
first conception of the source of individual life and 
thought. In the archaic portions of the Bible there 
is sufficient evidence that the Hebrews were not 
exceptional in their early ideas. They, too, had the 
notion of the soul as a kind of breath or shadow. 
They had their " Sheol " for departed souls, as the 
Greeks had their " Hades." The religious reform of 
the prophets, however, was not specially concerned 
with this. Jehovah was the God, not of the dead, but 



14 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY , 

« 

of the living; like the Olympian gods of Greece. 
Ideals of righteousness were to be realised and to 
find their justification on earth. There is no reason 
to suppose, however, that the notion of a permanent 
individuality, or even of its manifestation as a 
"ghost," ever disappeared from the popular mind. 
Just as in Greece this played a larger part in the 
general religion than could be inferred from Homer 
or Sophocles, so no doubt in Judaea it went on 
unaffected by the silence of the prophetic literature. 
Thus, when the theodicy of the prophets, under stress 
of the facts of Israel's destiny, was felt to have 
broken down, religious thinkers were able to recur to 
the animistic idea, in order to redress the balance by 
visions of a future life. 

Though the parallel with Greece does not altogether 
fail in this last stage, yet the differences are more 
conspicuous than the resemblances. In Judaea there 
was a far more decided influence of what we should 
call the " practical reason." Ethical aspirations did 
not, indeed, suggest the thought of survival — ^it was 
already there; but they were the motives that set 
thinkers to work on the problem. And the small 
part that metaphysics played in the process is seen in 
the form which the expectation of survival usually 
took — namely, that of a " resurrection of the body." 

In the Jewish apocalyptic literature the future 
bodily resurrection of the dead was associated with 
the coming of the Messiah. When the predicted 
deliverer has established the kingdom, overthrowing 
all who resist him among '' the nations," the dead will 
rise again and join the faithful Israelites who are alive 
at his coming. It is not inconsistent with this, which is 
the general imagination, that the Messianic kingdom 
should be pictured as enduring on earth. That 



ALEXANDRIAN JUDAISM 16 

kingdom is, of course, the theocracy universalised. 
Jerusalem is its centre, and all enemies are put under 
the feet of its Anointed King. In the resurrection 
sometimes only the righteous have part ; sometimes 
the wicked also are raised up to be punished along 
with the living enemies of the Messiah. By some 
visionaries the fate of the heathen at the resurrection 
is passed over in silence ; by others they are included 
as a matter of course among the "wicked." The 
agent of punishment — sometimes of destruction — is 
the fire of " Gehenna." Though of different origin 
as imagery, it corresponds in conception with the 
" Tartarus " which, through a mixture of ethical ideas 
with the primitive, more indeterminate notion of the 
future, had come to be regarded by the Greeks and 
Romans as a place of retribution for crimes that had 
escaped judgment in this life. 

We have now evidently reached a state of the 
spiritual atmosphere which explains much in the 
Gospel ; but there are still some further preliminaries. 

4. — AlexandHan Jvdaism. 

The rather unspeculative, though not unimaginative, 
character of these ideas need not be attributed to any 
peculiarity of the Semitic as distinguished from the 
Aryan race. Indeed, it is not unlikely that they were 
in part the result of contact with Aryan Persia. Their 
development is sufficiently explained by the circum- 
stances of the Palestinian Jews. Among the Jews of 
the Dispersion those of Alexandria, who had oppor- 
tunities of coming in contact with Greek philosophy, 
showed no intrinsic want of aptitude for metaphysics. 
Philo, their most eminent representative, was an 
able thinker, though trammelled, like our Western 



16 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

scholastics of the Middle Age, by the necessity of 
limiting himself where "revealed religion " has spoken. 
If there was no such living coercive authority to check 
him, he personally desired to remain a faithful 
adherent of the Mosaic law. He was at work during 
the early years of the Christian era ; but the move- 
ment he represents can be traced back, like the 
production of the apocalyptic literature, to at least 
the second century b.c. 

When Hebrew religion and Greek philosophy met, 
some degree of interest could not fail to be aroused on 
both sides. We know more about the impression 
made on the Jews. The thinkers among them per- 
ceived that some among the Greeks had attained to 
as pure ideas of divinity as their own. To the original 
contact with Greek thought must be ascribed, indeed, 
the beginnings of the effort to explain away those 
anthropomorphisms in the Bible which were a scandal 
to Jewish and Christian theologians till the higher 
criticism shifted the problem. What is known as 
the " Wisdom-literature " is already touched by the 
Greek spirit. Philo's historical significance is due to 
his strenuous effort of reconciliation on the same line. 
In elaborating with the aid of his philosophical 
learning the half-personalised abstractions, called 
Wisdom, or Spirit, or Word, through which the 
transcendent God of Platonising Judaism could be 
conceived as acting on matter, he provided Christian 
speculators in advance with their conception of the 
Logos. The difference is that for Philo the personality 
of the Logos, or mediating Word, could be set aside 
when he was in a less mythological mood and more 
anxious to agree with the philosophers. It took its 
start, not from interest in an actual person or a 
concrete myth, but from more or less conscious 



ALEXANDHIAK JUDAISM 17 

philosophical mythologising to meet certain difficul- 
ties of a monotheistic creed. 

But if Israel had received its monotheism by 
divine revelation, how was the attainment of the 
same conviction by heathen philosophers to be 
explained? To admit that it could be attained 
by natural light would make revelation superfluous, 
or would place the chosen people on an inferior 
level. In the absence of philological science, it 
was easy to devise an explanation. The Pen- 
tateuch, as every one knew, was of primeval 
antiquity. The Greek philosophers, it was equally 
well known, had all borrowed their systems from the 
East. Evidently, then, the Mosaic revelation, or some 
fragments of it, had been communicated to Plato and 
Aristotle. This was in its way a liberal view. It 
permitted the pious Israelite to read and appreciate 
the books of the heathen. The more open-minded of 
the Christian Fathers in their turn found it very con- 
venient ; and as late as the seventeenth century it 
was still quite alive. 

In any case, the knowledge that the educated 
portion of the heathen world, so far as it was religious 
at all, was permeated with a philosophical theology 
not unlike that which could be stated as the essence 
of their own religion, furnished the cosmopolitan Jews 
with an excellent opening for proselytising. The 
claim could be made to instruct the multitude authori- 
tatively in a wisdom long recognised by the few in 
their own lands. Besides, the Jews came from the 
East, to which the peoples of the West were accus- 
tomed to look as the home of esoteric mysteries. 
One form which proselytism took was accordingly 
the writing of those Greek compositions in verse 
known as the SibyUine Oracles. The Cumsean, or 

c 



18 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

some other Sibyl, was represented as proclaiming 
the superiority of the Jewish religion to all others, 
the falsity of " idols," and the identity of the God of 
the Jews with the God of the universe. Beyond their 
pure theism, the Sibylline books contained Messianic 
elements. Hence they came to be much appealed to 
on behalf of Christianity ; for which reason Celsus, in 
his True Word addressed to the Christians, gave them 
the name of " Sibyllists." 

The appeal to the Greek-speaking world was much 
facilitated by the Septuagint translation of the Bible, 
which had proceeded from Alexandria. At the 
opening of the Christian era Hebrew existed only 
as a learned language. The language of Palestine 
was Aramaic ; and the Scriptures, for popular use, 
needed interpretation into it. Among the Greek- 
speaking Jews of the Boman Empire the Septuagint 
was the version in use. Thus there could be put 
into the hands of proselytes an authorised collection 
of literature containing the very revelation which, as 
their new instructors would tell them, they vainly 
sought in the mysteries of Phrygia or of Egypt. No 
other religion could oflfer them the sacred books of an 
ancient and still living priesthood translated into the 
vernacular. 

5. — The Preparation for the Gospel. 

Hopeful as the outlook may have appeared for great 
conquests of the religion of Israel over the old 
religions of the Mediterranean world, it was not pure 
Judaism that was to profit by the situation. The 
reasons that have ordinarily been assigned for this by 
Christian apologists are sufficient on the whole, though 
they lead to unexpected conclusions. 



THE PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL 19 

But first it may be premised that Hebrew religion 
had nothing to teach the philosophic schools. Probably 
the verdict of any religious-minded Platonist would 
have differed little from that of Julian: that the 
prophets had indeed, by narrowing their vision for all 
else, caught a glimpse of one great truth — the unity 
of directive power in the universe — but that in their 
expression of it there was more of fire than of light. 
If any distinct influence could have found access to 
classical culture, it was on the aesthetic side ; and the 
treatise On the SMime suffices to prove that a critic 
with academical standards was not insensitive to the 
peculiar quality of Hebrew literature. On the side of 
thought it was the Jews who underwent influence. 
With the establishment of amicable relations between 
Jew and Greek, in a world of continued speculative 
freedom, this influence would no doubt have gone 
further. The personality of Jehovah even might have 
been merged in a pantheistic conception, as it tended 
to be among small groups of the heterodox in the 
Middle Ages. This, however, would scarcely have 
affected the multitude ; and it is with the fortunes of 
popular religion that we are at present concerned. 

For the many, it is usually said, Judaism had, on 
the one hand, too much the character of an abstract 
monotheism; while, on the other hand, it was too 
stringent in its demand for the observance of a minute 
ritual. And, of course, proselytes from among the 
heathen could not feel any deep interest in those 
discussions of the law which were a delight to the 
pious Pharisee. To become an adept in them would 
have required a training as difficult in its way as that 
of the Hellenic schools. But new religions appealed 
precisely to those who found the path of philosophy 
arduous. Above all, a pathetic religion was needed. 



20 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

Who was to take the place of the slain and suffering 
divinities already introduced from the mystic East ; 
of Dionysus and Adonis and Attis and Osiris ; of the 
sorrowing Isis, and of Cybele, the mother of the Gods ? 
Gould JudsBa, in fashions unknown to its doctors of 
the law, offer any such objects of devotion? And 
could that high tone of authority also be retained 
which was assumed by proselytisers orthodox in their 
own national monotheistic religion, who claimed to 
teach as a divine revelation what had been for the 
wisest among the Greeks at best a result of fallible 
human reasoning ? 

The former question, as we know, was solved by 
the emergence of a cult directed to the crucified 
Son of God. The latter was solved by the destruc- 
tion of the temple at Jerusalem. The old hierarchy 
thus overthrown, the way was left clear for a new one 
to claim the succession to its authority. Such a 
hierarchy was formed among the groups of societies 
practising the cult ; and it displayed the requisite 
vigour and adaptiveness. It soon had sacred books of 
its own, which it appended to the older Scriptures. 
The generalised ideas of official Judaism, the Messianic 
hope, Hellenistic myth and ritual, ethical and meta- 
physical ideas that had passed into currency, and in 
particular the idea of personal "salvation" in a future 
life, were all in due proportion assimilated. A new 
religion had appeared, which at length succeeded in 
imposing itself in the Boman Empire. 

By what process did it first emerge? Was the 
slain god originally a human person, an ethical teacher 
put to death by the Procurator of Judaea to appease 
the Jewish authorities whom his teaching had offended? 
Did he first, from a prophet or Rabbi with a group of 
disciples, come to be regarded as the Messiah, and 



THE PBEPABATION FOB THE GOSPEL 21 

then afterwards, on non-Jewish ground, receive full 
apotheosis ? Was the cult as well as the mythology 
thus an accretion, in small part Jewish, in large part 
Hellenistic, that gathered round an actual human 
being who was " deified " ? 

A majority of non-traditionalist critics would 
probably answer these questions in the affirmative. 
There is, however, a dissentient minority. Before 
deciding, we must ask, first, what evidence there is 
for the historical events assumed to be recorded in the 
New Testament. Then, if we find that there is no 
real evidence, we must go on to ask, in the second 
place, whether the beginnings of the Christian Church 
can be explained without supposing its story of Christ 
to have a basis of fact. 

Now the Gospels, to which the primary appeal has 
to be made, cannot be regarded as historical docu- 
ments. They are of unknown authorship and of 
composite origin. Their probable date is more than 
two generations after the events they professedly 
record, and they are of miracle-stories all compact. 
The teacher never appears as a mere human being, 
but as "the Lord," the "Son of God." His birth 
is miraculous. His death on the cross is not described 
with accompaniments that were those of a Eoman 
execution, but with the characteristic details of various 
rites of human sacrifice known in all parts of the world 
from India to Mexico. To all of them a mystic signi- 
ficance is attributed. As a teacher, he from the first 
claims authority to reverse the decisions of the ancient 
lawgiver of his nation : if he approves of the law, that, 
too, is by his authority. We are remote enough here 
from memoirs of some one who really lived. 

Is there, then, any external evidence pointing to 
some nucleus of actual occurrence? The answer 



22 THE ORIGINS OF CHBISTIANITT 

must be that there is none whatever. The only 
apparent exception is the celebrated passage in the 
AnnaU of Tacitus (xv. 44). This passage itself, indeed, 
defies all scepticism ;^ yet on every side it has been 
found puzzling. It only becomes clear by the ad- 
mission that, in the period to which it refers, there 
was as yet no Christianity in our sense of the term — 
that is, no belief in a Christ who was said to have 
appeared at a definite place and time. 

The account is briefly this. To divert from himself 
the suspicion of having caused the great fire at Rome 
in the year 64 (for the sake of his ambitious archi- 
tectural schemes), the Emperor Nero accused those 
who were commonly called Christians. Christus, the 
author of that name, had been put to death in the 
reign of Tiberius by Pontius Pilatus, the Procurator. 
The dire superstition fexitiahilis auperatitiojj repressed 
for a moment, burst forth again, and spread from 
Judsea, the original seat of the evil, to Rome itself- 
Inquiries being now instituted with reference to the 
conflagration, a vast multitude was in the end 
seized. The accused were convicted, not so much of 
having caused the fire as of '^ hatred of the human 
race." Their punishment was of Neronian atrocity ; 



^ Not that the reoorrent sceptioism about the works of Tacitus has 
been purely and simply idle. The age when the prinoipal part of 
them came to light bears a superficial resemblance to that of which 
he wrote. The Benaissance in Italy and the early Boman Empire 
were alike violently sensational. A deeper resemblance is that the 
two periods, of Boman and of modem European history, were 
corresponding phases on " the way down " and *' the way up " — the 
descent to theocratic monarchy and the return. Thus, forgery of the 
AnnaU (by Poggio Bracciolini) was a suggestion not quite devoid of 
plausibility ; though exact scrutiny entirely confirms the genuineness 
of the work. To suppose the particular passage on the Christians 
an interpolation is confessed to be hopeless. 



THE PREPABATION FOR THE GOSPEL 23 

80 that, in spite of the guilt imputed to them, com- 
passion arose for their fate ; since it was felt that 
their sufferings had been inflicted not for the public 
good, but to satiate the cruelty of one man. 

A difficulty in this account is the absolute want of 
plausibility of such a charge against the early Chris- 
tians of legend. The commentators have pointed out 
that it would have been much more plausible against 
apocalyptic Jewish fanatics ; and the suggestion has 
been made that the real *^ Christians " were somehow 
mixed up with these, who formed the chief portion of 
the 'Wast multitude." On this hint let us put the 
extreme hypothesis that there were no Christians 
at all in our sense ; and that there could not be, 
because the author of the sect was mythical, and the 
circumstantial form of the myth had not then arisen. 
We shall find that every statement of Tacitus falls 
spontaneously into its place. 

Christians, as we understand the term, existed, of 
course, in the time of the historian himself, who was 
writing under Trajan early in the second century. It 
is to their faith that he applied his memorable phrase. 
Having been a Boman official, he would know or 
suspect something of the close and authoritative 
organisation of the rising Church ; and he may have 
heard rumours as to the damnatory character of its 
creed. The almost colourless statement about the 
founder he would naturally take from what was 
repeated in common by the Christians of his own 
day. He would see no reason for rejecting the 
assertion that the author of a new sect, presumably 
anti-Roman, had " suffered under Pontius Pilate," a 
Procurator detested by the nationalist Jews. To 
suppose that he may have derived the information from 
the " Roman archives " is perfectly gratuitous. He 



24 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

was trying to get at the history of the sect by the 
procedure known to students of sources as " combina- 
tion." Here is no testimony to the crucifixion inde- 
pendent of the Christian belief which, in the same 
age, was incorporated in the Gospels. 

But why should "Christians" be spoken of as 
existing in the time of Nero ? And what is the his- 
torical basis of the account ? There is no difficulty 
about the answer. By no other name could Greeks 
or Romans speak of Messianic Jews. Now, we know 
that soon after the date of the great fire the revolt of 
Judaea broke out, which was suppressed by Vespasian 
and Titus. It may reasonably be inferred from 
Suetonius {Claud. 25) that the tumults he mentions 
as having gone on among the Jews of Rome earlier 
were associated with Messianic movements.^ We 
know also the type of apocalyptic expectations current 
among the Messianists. At the coming of the Anointed 
King from the East, the secular world-State was to 
be dissolved amid slaughter and universal conflagra- 
tion, over which the saints of the theocracy would ever- 
lastingly exult. When the Jewish community every- 
where was seething with preludes of insurrection set 
going by these hopes, who could be more speciously 
accused of incendiarism than those among them by 
whom the Messiah — " the Christ " (x/t>«<n-oc, Anointed) 
— was most vividly expected? And would not the 
beliefs about the end of all things which they would 
confidently express bring them, in the eyes of ** the 
heathen" who were to be destroyed, under what might 

^ The ground for this inference is the ourious phrase <* impulsore 
Ghresto.** Suetonius evidently thought the Jews had been rioting 
under the inoitement of a party leader named Ghrestus (the pro- 
nonoiation of which name in Greek would be identical with that of 
««Ghri8tus"). 



THE PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL 26 

seem the justified charge of " hatred of the human 
race," even if it should be made clear that they were 
falsely accused of setting fire to the city? That a 
" vast multitude " of apocalyptic Jews (including 
perhaps Greek-speaking proselytes) could be arrested 
in Rome, then largely of foreign population, there ifl 
no reason to doubt ; so that, if the real victims of 
Nero were fanatical Jews, the historian need not be 
accused of exaggerating. With this view the small 
amount of reference made for a long time by Church- 
writers to the so-called " Neronian persecution " is in 
harmony.^ They knew nothing of it from their own 
tradition ; and, when they came to speak of it, merely 
transmitted the misunderstanding of Tacitus, who, 
from the identity of name, had confused the Mes- 
sianists of Nero's time with the new sect of Christians 
in the time of Trajan. 

Still, though there is nothing that can be called 
historical evidence for the existence of a personal 
Christ whose name was adored by a group of believers 
as early as the reign of Nero, may not the hypothesis 
be necessary to explain the legend? The Gospels 
assign his appearance to the reign of Tiberius and 
to the Procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. Cannot 
this information have been correctly preserved by 
oral transmission till the accounts were written 
down early in the second century? I had thought 
that some such view might be defended ; but, partly 

^ The passage in Juvenal (i. 155) which has been supposed to refer 
to the same event is also quite consistent with the view taken. Speak 
your mind of the creature of a tyrant, says Juvenal, and you will be 
made a "live torch.'* This suggests that those who were thus 
punished had displayed an insurrectionary spirit. Now the Christians 
prided thezAlvea on never having been insurgents. *' Let every soul 
be subject udto the higher powers ''; even if the higher powers 
should happen to be Nero and Tigellinus. 



36 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

by the arguments of Mr. Robertson,^ and partly by 
confirmation of them since met with, I have been led 
to a different conclusion. The real basis of the 
Christian community I take to have been, as Mr. 
Robertson holds, a cult which was connected with a 
Jesus or Joshua long since conceived as of divine 
status. The story of a quasi-historic Jesus grew out 
of immemorial elements of native Semitic ritual and 
myth which now rose to the surface after ages of 
obscure persistence beneath the official and Pharisaic 
Jewish religion.^ To form the definitive myth, this 
story combined with Hellenistic stories of similar 
type, itself undergoing modification in the process. 

Elements of what is called *' heathenism " are, of 
course, to be detected in the canonical Hebrew Scrip- 
tures. Julian had no difficulty in proving this against 
the claim that as a whole they taught an absolutely 
pure monotheism. He could even show that the 
"devil-worship" of which the Jews, and the Christians 
after them, were fond of accusing " the nations " was 
not absent in their own documents. His interpreta- 
tion of the scapegoat, sacrificed to Azazel, has been 
confirmed by modern critical science. Thus there is 
no paradox if we find in apocryphal or Christian 
books still more distinct traces of lingering polytheism. 

A particular confirmation of Mr. Robertson's view 

^ See his works, Christianity and Mythology (1900), A Short 
History of Christianity (1902), and Pagan ChrisU (1903). 

^ Compare Grant Allen's remark that Christianity as known to as 
from the New Testament and the works of the Fathers ** embraces in 
itself elements which doubtless lingered on in secluded comers more 
or less among the mass of the people even in Judssa itself, though 
discountenanced by the adherents of the priestly and official Jahweh- 
worship ; but which were integral parts of the popular and even the 
recognised religion throughout the whole of northern Syria'* (The 
Evolution of the Idea of Qod, R. P. A. edition, p. 130). 



THE PBEPABATION FOB THE GOSPEL 27 

to which I desire to draw attention is an older reading 
in the Epistle of Jude (recognised in the margin of 
the Revised Version). It occurs in verse 5, and its 
significance is brought out by verse 6. "I will there- 
fore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew 
this, how that Jesus [that is, Joshua, instead of ' the 
Lord '] having saved the people out of the land of 
Egypt the second time [Moses having saved them the 
first time] afterward destroyed them that believed 
not." The next verse proceeds : *^ And the angels 
which kept not their first estate, but left their own 
habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains 
under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."^ 
Plainly the binding of erring angels can only be 
attributed to a supernatural being, and not to a mere 
national hero. And it must be remembered that the 
Epistle is a Judseo-Christian, not a ** heathen Chris- 
tian," work. With this passage from a book of the 
New Testament, it is interesting to compare a 
Messianic prophecy from the Sibylline Oracles, trans- 
lated by the Rev. W. J. Deane as follows :^ " Now a 
certain excellent man shall come again from heaven, 
who spread forth his hands upon the very fruitful 
tree, the best of the Hebrews, who once made the sun 
stand still, speaking with beauteous words and pure 
lips." Here, as Mr. Robertson would say, we observe 
the conception passing into that of the Teaching God. 

^ I give the passage as it stands in Buttmann's Greek Testament : 
inrofAtnjffcu 5^ {ffA&s jSot^Xo/Aai, eldSras iffids dira^ Tdvra, Sn 6 'Ii^trous \a6y 
iK 7^5 Xly{nrTov aitxras t6 de&repov toj>s fiij Tta-TeiJa-cwras dirc&\e(rcK, 
irfyiXovs re rods fi^ rrjpiiffayTai riiv iavrCjy dpx^" dXXd dToXtir^yTas rb 
tdiov olKTjn/ipioy eh xplaiv fieydXris iifi^pai SeafAoU didlois iirb ^6<t>ov 
ren/ipviKev. 

^ Pseudepigrapha (1891), p. 312. — The original is given at the end 
of the article on ** Apocalyptic Literature " in the Encyclopadia 
Biblica. 



28 THE ORIGINS OF GHRISTIANITT 

The " very fruitful tree " (or " tree of fair fruit ") has 
reference, of course, to that sacrificial idea of which 
the implications have been brought out by Mr. Frazer 
in The Golden Bough. 

We evidently have here, in the idea already present 
on Jewish ground of a deliverer with divine name 
and attributes, a possible centre of a new growth. 
This renders superfluous Mr. Frazer's own explana- 
tion of the Christian cultus as the starting of the 
sacrificial idea into renewed vitality through the death 
of an actual Jesus — the GalilsBan teacher — selected, by 
the machinations of sacerdotal hostility, as the victim 
of a surviving annual rite at Jerusalem in which 
usually a condemned criminal played the part of a 
dying god. For Mr. Frazer's tentative hypothesis 
there can be substituted a combination of the positive 
results of his great anthropological investigation with 
the results, negative as well as positive, of Biblical 
criticism.^ The particular events related in the 
Gospels did not happen ; but, as Mr. Robertson puts 
it, the story condenses a whole phase — indeed, more 
than one phase — of religion in a single figure. The 
human victim is crucified as the incarnation of the 
god. He has the attributes of a corn-god and of a 
wine-god ; hence his body and blood can be partaken 
of sacramentally by eating bread and drinking wine. 
He rises again from the dead. His death and resur- 

^ Does not a generalised position stated by Mr. Frazer himself 
tend to exclude his hypothesis so far as it would apply also to the 
sacramental meal ? ** People do not usually observe a custom because 
on a particular occasion a mythical being is said to have acted in a 
certain way. But, on the contrary, they very often invent myths to 
explain why they practise certain customs." (The Oolden Bought 
2nd ed., vol. ii., p. 420.) On the annual sacrificial rite, compare Mr. 
Robertson's remarks {Pagan ChristSt pp. 153 £f.), starting from the 
variant *Iri<rovy BapappSiy in Matt, xxvii. 16. 



THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM 



rection are celebrated annually, at the season when 
celebrations of the death and new birth of deities — 
whether representative of the forces of vegetation or of 
the power of the sun — are usual. With this most 
archaic conception, according to which the god is slain 
in his prime so that he may regain his vigour in a 
new manifestation, the piacular idea is combined. 
Sinless himself, he was made a sacrifice for the sins 
of others. His death, therefore, coincides in time 
with an old piacular rite, the Passover, probably itself 
derived from a custom of human sacrifice. Then, 
since the new religion of the Incarnate God adopts 
the sacred books of its predecessor as its own, all 
other conceptions have to be reconciled with Jewish 
monotheism. Hence the problem of Christian theo- 
logy, handed down from the New Testament to the 
Fathers and from the Fathers to the Schoolmen. 

6. — The Destruction of Jerusalem and its 
Consequences. 

But, if we accept some view of this kind, the 
question still remains for decision, When did the cult 
first draw to itself a new myth in a concrete form ? 
. The answer I propose is, that it was not until after 
the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. That 
great crisis unloosed ideas which had long been pre- 
paring. We know both from Josephus and from 
Tacitus that prodigies were reported to have taken 
place before the fall of the Temple. A voice louder 
than human was heard proclaiming the departure of 
" the gods." But few, says Tacitus, interpreted this 
in th(B sense of fear : most were persuaded that it was 
contained in the ancient scriptures of the priests that 
at that time the East should wax strong, and that 



80 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

men going forth from JudsBa should possess the world.^ 
Now these hopes were not abandoned by the orthodox 
Jews themselves till long after. The Gentile proselyte 
to Judaism was still a familiar figure at Rome in the 
reign of Domitian, and even later, as we may infer 
from Juvenal — who, it may be noted, at the beginning 
of the second century knows nothing of the Christians. 
It was not until the total annihilation of the Jewish 
polity, in consequence of the revolt suppressed by 
Hadrian, that the religion retired into the all but 
complete exclusiveness it has ever since maintained. 
And by that time the orthodox proselytism, reserving 
as it did for born Israelites the position of a religious 
aristocracy, had been superseded by that of the 
Christians, who had gone forth from among them. 
Thus it seems probable that, just after the catastrophe 
of the year 70, those Jews or semi- Jews who for any 
reason were discontented with the hierarchy and the 
Rabbis would show quite exceptional activity. For 
they too were penetrated with the national hopes, 
and the accepted leaders of the people had failed. 

Let a rumour go forth that the Messiah who was to 
suffer, and then to triumph,^ had already appeared 
and undergone that which was foretold by the 
prophets. Would not this gain instant credence with 
many ? And here is such basis as may be found for 
a myth. There was nothing incredible in the asser- 
tion that one who had been sent to lead the nation 
along a new way had been crucified by Pontius Pilate, 
whose Procuratorship was now in the past, and was 
remembered as a harsh one for the Jews. The name 
of Jesus — an actual name in Palestine — was destined 

^ I have quoted the original in a note to the exposition of 
Van Manen. 
^ A syncretism was, of coarse, made of the two ideas. 



THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM 81 

for the new deliverer as being that of the ancient god 
transformed into a national leader. Eucharists, par- 
taken of by limited circles, existed among the Jews as 
elsewhere. And these circles, with their devotion to 
unofficial mysteries, were likely to retain the most 
archaic religious ideas. Thus there was already a 
cult and organisation prepared to receive so congenial 
a new belief. Enough is known of such confraternities 
to make it intelligible that extended associations grow- 
ing out of them should become very powerful. This, 
indeed, was one ground for suspicion on the part of 
the Boman government, not now displayed for the 
first time. A new proselytising society, if it could 
not make its innocence of all far-reaching designs 
very clear, was sure to find itself classed among un- 
lawful collegia. And, as a matter of fact, no sooner 
did the conception of the Christian Church as one 
great organisation begin to exist than such designs 
were inseparable from its life. 

On the ethical side it was easy to ascribe to the 
new deliverer a reformed teaching which some among 
the best minds, reacting against the superfetation of 
official ritual and casuistry, desired to educe from the 
ancient books. Thus might appear the first collec- 
tions of sayings attributed to Jesus. If this was 
a comparatively early movement, originating in 
Palestine, then we can explain the difference between 
the impression made on a modem liberal Jew by the 
Synoptic Jesus and by the Paul of the Epistles.^ 
The teaching primarily attributed to the founder 
represents a phase of moral reflection that was really 



^ See the article by Mr. Montefiore quoted in a note to the ezpoei- 
tion of Yan Manen; and compare the Master of BallioPs obserrationB 
in the Hibbert Jaumal for October, 1903 (vol. ii., p. 16). 



82 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

in contact with the law, and could criticise its short- 
comings and those of its expositors with effect. The 
Pauline writings represent Gentile Christianity, to 
which ** the law " was an abstraction. For the Pauline 
groups the main interest lay in developing the idea of 
the supernatural Christ on the lines of an incipient 
theology and " soteriology." And this development, 
as Van Man en has shown, was Hellenistic, and was 
removed at least one stage from the origin of the 
religion of Jesus. 

The teaching, so far as it is not disfigured by eccle- 
siastical accretions, such as the commission to certain 
persons to forgive sins, and so forth, is that which has 
conferred on Christianity its attraction for minds 
which the dogma leaves unaffected or rouses to 
revolt. Yet pagan opponents like Celsus were able 
to prove that, to one who knew the philosophers, it 
was not fundamentally original. It was not, of course, 
derived from philosophy. By modern criticism its 
derivation from Hebrew sources has been traced. 
Its notable sayings are for the most part to be 
be read word for word in the Old Testament. The 
exaltation of the poor and oppressed was no new 
thing, but had long been a distinctive feature of 
Hebrew literature ; so much so that it had modified 
the connotations of Greek words used in the 
Septuagint.^ The Greek classical literature, with its 
insistence on justice first and foremost, does not dwell 
BO much on the side of conduct which this expresses.^ 
Recognitions of it, however, are not wanting ; so that 

^ See Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, 

3 The Golden Role, which touches both sides, is, of course, to be 
found not only in Greek, but in Chinese classics long before the 
Christian era. (Whether it occurs in the positive or in the negative 
form is immaterial.) 



THE DESTBUOTION OF JEBUSALEM 88 

the later representatives of the classical spirit could 
show that kindness to the unfortunate, though in their 
time, as they admitted, more practised by Jews and 
Christians, was, nevertheless, in their own traditions. 
Any modems who imagine that the virtue of com- 
passion was invented by Christianity, or even by 
Hebraism, may be confuted by sayings dating not solely 
from the cosmopolitan period of Grseco-Boman ethics, 
but from the militant period of the city-State.^ And 
here natural feeling is trusted in the last resort : the 
appeal is not to the authority of a divine person who 
has commanded men to be humane under the promise 
of heaven and the threat of hell. 

The ascetic side of Christianity was hardly at all 
distinctive till it degenerated into repulsive monkery. 
Whatever may be thought of the ascetic movement of 
later antiquity, it was in its origins undoubtedly 
" pagan." Its great representatives were the Neo- 
Pythagoreans, who included in their ascetic discipline, 
besides chastity, abstinence from flesh and wine. 
Their abstinence from flesh had for one motive com- 
passionate feeling towards the lower animals. Now 
this, although not usually carried to the same length, 
is a part of all modern non-Catholic ethics ; but, while 
it may be traced equally in "Hebraism" and in 
"Hellenism," it gets no special recognition from 
Christianity. "Doth God take care for oxen?" asks 
the Apostle of the Gentiles. 

Around the central figure of the religion, to whom 
the widened ethical teaching of certain Aramaic- 
speaking groups may have been first ascribed, there 
gathered at length all kinds of typical stories of divine 
teachers. Some of these stories are said to be of 



^ Tois Ijiraoaip yhp Ta$ ris et)yo/as <f>4p€i. Aesoh. Supp. 489. 

D 



84 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

Buddhistic origin. What was required of neophytes, 
however, was not acceptance of the teaching, but belief 
in the miraculous resurrection of "the Lord." There 
is no vestige of evidence for any early or earliest 
Christianity that was simply a moral rule of life. The 
simplest form of faith described in the Christian record 
is the confession that the Jesus of whose life and 
death oral accounts were in circulation was the Messiah 
— " the Christ." 

Pew of the Hellenistic converts of Syria or Asia 
Minor, where Christianity gained its first successes, 
would have the competence or the desire to investigate 
such accounts. If any displayed the inclination, they 
were told that belief without evidence was a virtue. 
The story, besides, had close afl&nity with their own 
religious ideas; and it had been placed in the time 
before a .convulsion deeply affecting all who, practising 
less organised cults, looked with awe on the tremendous 
claims of Judaism. The Messiah of the Jews, it could 
now be declared in terms of a typical and world-wide 
myth, had suffered and risen again from the dead. 
He would return to reward those who believed, and to 
punish unbelievers with destruction. Thus the old 
theocratic dream reappeared. The initiates of the 
emergent cult had no thought of giving up the expec- 
tation of universal dominion bequeathed to them, as 
they held, by their forefathers, natural or spiritual. 
Their kingdom was not of this world ; because, when 
it came, the world — or the present age — would be 
destroyed. Their Jerusalem was a New Jerusalem; 
hence they need not regret the old. Peaceful and 
violent theocratic aspirations were mingled, as with 
their predecessors. By some among them it was 
desired that everything should be done by mild per- 
suasion ; others looked forward to plagues and 



THE DESTBUGTION OF JEBUSALEM 35 

earthquakes and flaming fire. As the orthodox Jews 
did not enthusiastically receive the new Gospel, or 
^^glad tidings/' the responsibility for the death of the 
promised Redeemer began to be cast upon them, and 
withdrawn as much as possible from the Roman 
governor. Prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and parables prefiguring the rejection of the unbeliev- 
ing Jews from the promised kingdom, were put in the 
mouth of Jesus. The new sect turned more and more 
to the Gentiles. The feast is for all except those men 
who were first invited : if any are unwilling, the 
servants of the kingdom must '' compel them to come 
in."i 

Jesus, it was held, had sent forth his mystic Twelve 
Apostles — corresponding to the twelve patriarchs and 
the twelve tribes of Israel. He had commissioned 
them to teach all nations, and had appointed the 
ceremonies of his religion — in reality, immemorial 
usages, Jewish and pagan. A story of his betrayal 
grew up. He had been " bought with a price," like 
the victims of known human sacrifices. A Mystery 
Drama came into being, setting forth his Crucifixion 
and Resurrection and the associated events. This is 
the basis of the extant narrative; as is especially 
evident in our first two Gospels.^ Hellenistic ritual 
and mythology — in their remoter origin themselves 
Asiatic — contributed to the syncretism. The mythical 
development was accompanied or followed by specu- 
lations of a more intellectual kind. In about a 
generation from the fall of the Temple, the way 
had been prepared for the new movement called 
Faulinism. 

^ This text was used later in support of persecution. 
^ Mr. Bobertson, I tliink, has convincingly made out this point. 
See, in particular, A Short History of Christianity ^ pp. S7-89. 



86 THE OBIGINS OF OHBISTIANITT 

To nnderstand the exact position, however, we must 
go back and consider, in its bearing on the future of 
religion, the process of development undergone by the 
ancient classical world till it was confronted with 
Christianity. 

7. — The Anti-Hellenic Rectction. 

In the West a new type of civilisation had arisen 
different from that of Asia. Its characteristics were 
political self-government as opposed to absolutism, 
humanist as distinguished from theological culture, 
and (in tendency) the direction of life by ideas 
attained through a process of unfettered thought as 
opposed to its direction under the traditional system 
of a priestly hierarchy. No hard-and-fast division 
between East and West, indeed, has ever existed 
grounded in these distinctions; but on the whole 
they describe the fundamental contrast. 

The Western type was developed with various 
degrees of purity by the Greek cities, and afterwards 
by Rome. Its ideal has by all later generations been 
found in Athens in the fifth century b.o. This ideal 
was not, of course, realised without imperfections : 
the representatives, for example, of popular govern- 
ment and of philosophy did not always understand 
that their causes were united. The progressive move- 
ment, besides, was stopped; so that in many ways 
the humanity and sense of justice displayed even by 
not extraordinary minds had no chance of coming to 
fruition. To this period the ancients themselves 
looked back as the humanist ideal. Cicero, at the 
opening of the fifth book of his De FinibuSy already 
treats it as a sacred antiquity, very much as we do 
ourselves. From the collapse of the Athenian power 



THE ANTI-HELLENIC REACTION 87 

at the end of the great age, the world has never since 
wholly recovered ; that is to say, if we consider, not 
individual men of genius nor yet mere expansion, but 
conceptions of life as realised in political societies 
without reference to their magnitude. The civilisa- 
tion of renascent or modern Europe is on a larger 
scale, but it still remains, even at the height, deeply 
entangled in the systems that were imposed*^ by 
reaction from the East. 

On a general survey, we perceive that, in the nature 
of things, a polity of yesterday, surrounded on the 
one side by complex civilisations reaching back 
through millennia, and on the other by groups of 
barbarian tribesmen, could not permeate the whole 
world with light by a continuous process. The 
sudden emergence of light was, in fact, owing to a 
conjuncture of favourable circumstances as well as 
to the natural genius of a race. The statesmen of 
later antiquity, when the reversal had begun, per- 
fectly understood that, on the whole, their business 
was to check a decline. 

The first Eastern institution to return was absolute 
monarchy ; the second was theocracy.^ The two 
were fatally connected, though it was still a question 
whether the latter should be nominal or should be an 
active power in the State. " The mightiest Julius," 

^ Perhaps it is not strictly accurate to say that they *' returned "; 
for, apart from imitation of the East by the West, they did not exist 
except in isolated cases such as that of Druidism — a typical theocracy 
which, itself supreme, gave solidity to the power of the kings or chiefe. 
What is meant is that, although a higher type had appeared in a portion 
of the world, the old civilisation, with its immense prestige, had still 
power to sap the new and subdue it to its level. Oerms of freedom, 
however, remained latent, partly in literature and partly in institu- 
tions ; and, from the later Middle Ages onward, they have so far 
succeeded in growing. 



88 THE ORIGINS OF CHBISTIANITY 

the deacendant of gods and kings, displayed his usual 
elear insight when he staked his whole future on 
being made Pontifex Maximus. United in one person 
or separated, the kingly and priestly dignities were 
henceforth necessary to each other. The framework 
of the republican type remained, indeed, after the 
victory of the monarchical cause ; and it is easy to 
undervalue its preservation. In reality, it gave the 
Boman Empire what still distinguished it from the 
monarchies of the East. '' GsBsarism " in the proper 
sense of the term — which may be described as a 
system resting on military loyalty to a quasi-royal 
family — lasted only from the battle of Actium to the 
death of Nero. With Vespasian came a prelude to 
the recovery of influence by that party in the Senate 
which, sustained by the Stoic philosophy, had resisted 
pure absolutism. The reform was retarded for an 
interval by the tyranny of Domitian — more frightful 
in its sheer oppressiveness than anything that had 
gone before ; but tyrannicide laid the foundation of 
nearly a century's good government. The Emperors 
of the second century took in hand the task of 
organising the imperial system so as to make the 
monarchy, as Tacitus put it, compatible with liberty. 
By Marcus Aurelius "CsBsarism" was expressly 
repudiated ; and his ideal of a monarchy republican 
in spirit was still official in the third century. The 
Boman Empire, according to the view put forward, 
was not to be confounded with an Asiatic despotism. 
The Emperor did not rule by arbitrary will, but 
according to law and for the common good. It was 
admitted that the rule of a single person had only 
become necessary through want of sufficient virtue in 
the multitude. If the republic had been possible, it 
would have been better that it should be retained. 



THE ANTI-HELLENIC REACTION 



The old basis of civic religion also, it was held, must 
as far as possible be preserved. Suppression of 
barbarian cults, or their assimilation to the civic 
type, was to be undertaken by the State in accordance 
with the ideas of philosophical reformers. Human 
sacrifices were legally abolished, as they have been 
by the British Government in India. Apart from 
abuses which it was hoped might gradually be got 
the better of, each city or country was to continue 
the practice of its own religion. This, indeed, had 
been the position of the early CsBsars themselves. 
Augustus promoted religious reaction on a Boman 
basis ; but, like his successors for nearly two centuries 
after his death, he maintained the old hostility to 
" foreign superstitions.'* 

Those who directed practical affairs knew all along 
the terrible power latent in popular religion and the 
susceptibility of the multitude to waves of fanaticism. 
Civic religion, with its administration by State function- 
aries and its aesthetic forms used as a means of beautify- 
ing life, was obviously an artificial structure. The 
true natural religion, as Cardinal Newman perceived 
and said, is of the barbarian type ; and, as he pro- 
ceeded to show, it is this that contains the root-ideas 
of the Christian revelation. From foreign cults at 
Bome there were occasions when nothing less was 
feared than the subversion of the State. The popular 
appeal in support of the native religion against more 
exciting mysteries could only be to patriotism. When 
this atrophied through loss of liberty, the whole battle 
was lost. At Athens it was no accident that Demos- 
thenes should try to associate his Macedonising rival 
with the invocation of "Yvijc ''Arrijc,''Arriic"Yviic. The 
overlordship of King Philip and the introduction of a 
strange god from Asia were instinctively seen to be 



40 THE OBIGINS OF GHBISTIANITT 

parts of the same process. The process was complete 
when the mob of Antioch acclauued '' the Chi and 
the Kappa "^ against a sovereign who would not allow 
himself to be called " despot." 

On the other side of the account, it must be 
remembered that the monarchy of Philip and Alexander 
was the means of introducing Hellenic culture into 
the Oriental world. And that culture penetrated 
by its pervasive force beyond the dominions of 
Alexander's successors. The kings of Farthia, for 
example, called themselves officially ''phil-Hellene." 
Asia, however, soon grew weary of this. The aggres- 
sion of the West, ending in the conquests of the 
Roman Republic, at length stirred up the deep under- 
lying desire to return to its own type. The popula- 
tions, as has often been observed, were glad to be 
relieved from the contests of unfamiliar political 
factions, and to know only " GsBsar "; but rumours 
such as that which is mentioned by Tacitus as 
current during the siege of Jerusalem reveal a pro- 
founder sentiment. The Jews, however, were too 
isolated in the East itself to fulfil the oracle literally, 
and to go forth and conquer in the name of resurgent 
darkness. Besides, the nobler elements in their 
character did not permit them to evolve the required 
ethics of submission. Jerusalem was not the cradle 
of the Catholic Church. 

The name of Christian was said to have been first 
heard at Antioch. With this it is in accordance that 
one legend makes Peter bishop there before he 
became bishop of Rome. Now Antioch, while 
extremely cosmopolitan, was at the same time, as we 
know from Philostratus, the special aversion of the 

^ Christ and Constantius. 



THE ANTI-HELLENIC BEACTION 41 

men of Hellenic culture. It was as typically un- 
Hellenic as it was Hellenistic. Around Antioch as a 
centre the literature of the new religion may have 
begun early in the second century. Up to then we 
may suppose the mythology to have been elaborated 
by way of oral transmission and modification. About 
the time of the first writings the sect had attracted 
the attention of the Roman authorities. Soon it 
began to " appeal unto CsBsar "; as the heroes of its 
legend were to be represented as having done in 
the past. Keeping out of sight its sacramental and 
sacrificial base and its hierocratic superstructure, it 
tried to gain the sympathy of influential men by 
putting in the forefront its monotheism and the purity 
of its morals. It claimed to be especially useful in 
promoting obedience to the magistrates. But always, 
as Benan has pointed out, its hope was in the 
Emperors personally. The fable that, on a report by 
Pontius Pilate relating the recent supernatural events 
in JudsBa, Tiberius moved in the Senate that Christ 
should be received into the pantheon, and that the 
assembled Senators rejected the motion, had an 
obvious " tendency." The Emperor was the natural 
friend of the Christians; the Senate was their natural 
enemy. And, indeed, it formed the last rallying- 
ground of the opposition in Italy, as the Athenian 
schools of philosophy did in Greece. 

The Empire of the second century, however, was 
not prepared to meet these overtures. There is a 
story that Hadrian once proposed to introduce the 
worship of Christ, but was dissuaded by an oracle, 
which pronounced that, if he carried out his design, 
all the other worships would cease. This, of course, 
is legendary; but it represents the real conjuncture 
of things. The official recognition of Christianity by 



42 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

the State meant that the rulers were to second the 
propaganda of an intolerant theocracy. If, among 
the Eastern worships, Mithraism was more favourably 
received, that was because it could be assimilated to 
the other cults of the Empire; and it did not threaten 
to usurp the domain of philosophy. For absolutism, 
no pagan idea of apotheosis could be of greater 
service than the Christian doctrine of divine right, put 
forward in the epistolary and apologetic literature. 
Indeed, in the Middle Ages, not only the Pope but the 
Emperor was called deus in terris. The opposition to 
Christianity in distinction from the permitted cults 
sprang from no self-interest on the part of the 
Emperors who opposed it, but from their Roman 
patriotism and their training in the free Greek 
schools. How remote they were from the conception 
of philosophy itself as a State-dogma is shown, for 
example, by the circumstance that Marcus Aurelius, 
while himself a Stoic, endowed chairs for all the 
schools of philosophy equally. In what precise 
manner Christianity was repressed before the acces- 
sion of Commodus — when the repression was relaxed 
simultaneously with the acceleration of the drift to 
absolutism — we do not know; since nearly all the 
information comes to us in a legendary form. What 
we do know is that it was in motive political ; it was 
not religious persecution. That the Christians under- 
went no serious persecution till the time of Diocletian 
has been proved once for all by Gibbon. 

This persecution was to be the prelude to their triumph 
under Constantine ; who developed further the Oriental 
court etiquette and the formally absolutist administra- 
tion that had marked the reign of his predecessor. In 
the meantime, the same anti-Hellenism was manifest- 
ing itself by a continued return- wave in the remoter 



PAULmiSM 48 



Eastern world. At the beginning of the third century 
the new Persian kingdom had been founded. The 
kingdom of the SassanidsB was a Church-State, strictly 
intolerant in principle, successfully persecuting Chris- 
tianity as well as heresies of native growth. Its 
substitution for the half-Hellenised kingdom of the 
ArsacidsB was only one more evidence of the drift of 
things. In the same period the Roman Empire was 
becoming ever more accessible to Eastern cults; 
though the position of Christianity was still preca- 
rious. What the resistance of the second century had 
secured was a breathing-space for a last effort of 
independent thought before the new hierarchy entered 
into possession. But this belongs to a later section. 
We must now return to the development of Chris- 
tianity from the end of the first century onward. 

8. — Paulinism. 

The earliest literary expression of Christianity, 
though not the earliest type of doctrine, was Paulinism. 
Those who began to put forward a speculative Chris- 
tianity in the name of '^ Paul " were the first Christians 
to write, precisely because they were the innovators. 
The Epistles which form our collection grew out of 
a Pauline literature consisting of short doctrinal 
expositions and exhortations. They do not differ 
essentially from the other old Christian epistles, which 
were never actual letters, but, from the first, edifying 
compositions ascribed to men of reputation in the 
past, bearing unmistakeable marks of the present to 
which they belong. 

This view, which is Van Manen's, set forth partly 
in his own words, I accept ; but some re-adjustment 
is necessary in relation to the different position I have 



44 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

been obliged to take up with regard to the very 
earliest Christianity. The modification needed, how- 
ever, is surprisingly little. 

The first question to arise is: Who was this "Paul" 
to whom doctrinal developments and then epistolary 
expositions of them were ascribed? According to 
Van Manen, he was one of those who had been con- 
verted by the disciples of an actual Jesus to the belief 
that he was the Messiah. The new " apostle " (to 
adopt the later term) was especially active in missionary 
journeys, and hence was remembered with greater 
vividness than the rest. Some of those members of 
the Christian communities who, about the end of the 
first century or the beginning of the second, were 
departing from narrowly Judaic ideas, put themselves 
under the protection of his name, perhaps because 
the wide range of his activity suggested a larger 
tolerance of non-Jewish customs. Embellished 
accounts of his travels were written — on the basis 
partly of a diary by a fellow-traveller. Of this diary 
we possess portions in the "journey-narrative" of the 
canonical Acts of the Apostles. The narrative we 
possess has been somewhat manipulated; but the 
retention of the first person plural indicates a real 
diary. The genuine substratum that may be inferred 
is not inconsistent with the chronological position 
assigned to Paul in the legend. Thus there was a 
point of contact for the Pauline literature in the actual 
life of one who lived in the generation preceding the 
destruction of Jerusalem. 

The modification I suggest is this : The Paul who 

■> was remembered was not indeed an associate of the 

disciples of an actual Jesus ; but he belonged to a 

group of Messianic propagandists of Judaism. Some 

such groups must have been vaguely remembered, and 



PAULINISM 46 



the '' Christians " in our sense (who arose after the 
destruction of Jerusalem) would naturally make use of 
their names, transforming them into disciples of the 
personal Jesus in whom they believed. The " apostolic 
age " was thus legendary, but not wholly mythical. 
No doubt there are considerable elements of pure 
myth, especially in the case of "Peter," the " rock'* 
apostle. And, indeed, of the figures that remain, 
none has the least tangibility except Paul. Still, in 
the Paul of Acts and of the epistolary literature there 
is left one figure which has the degree of reality to be 
sought in historical romance. This is the character 
of his trial before Festus. Like the trial of ApoUonius 
of Tyana before Domitian, it may not represent any- 
thing that actually took place ; but it was composed 
in relation to a real personage, and it has some 
circumstances of a possible trial. It is not simply a 
transcription from a Mystery Play. The Paul who 
really lived may have travelled as far as Greece and 
Italy, and may have been finally lost sight of in Rome. 
Beyond the fragmentary narrative of a single journey 
preserved in Acts, there is, however, no hope of 
reconstructing his story. 

Even this view, which, so far as Paul is concerned, 
does not differ substantially from Van Manen's, is not 
absolutely necessary to explain the Pauline literature. 
Considering similar attributions before and after, we 
might be inclined to say that a purely fictitious 
personality would suffice. Yet the collection of 
circumstantial narratives in the Acts of the Apostles 
seems to point to some such view on the whole. 
These narratives are indeed full of miracles ; but they 
seem better explained on the supposition that they are 
legends growing out of the propagandist activity of 
Messianic Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem 



46 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

than by dismissing them all as merely typical miracle- 
stories about ''symbolical" personages. 

For a fuller account of the doctrinal development 
called " Paulinism," I refer to the exposition which 
follows. The conspicuous features of the Pauline 
gospel are, of course, the insistence on '' faith " that 
in Jesus '' the Christ " has come, and on the '' grace '* 
that is given men to believe. This grace and this 
faith are the conditions of personal salvation. The 
Christ of Paul, the " Son of God " in whom faith is 
required and from whom grace comes, is the expres- 
sion of a more exalted supernaturalism than that of 
the old Messianists. The development is speculative 
rather than mythical or apocalyptic. The Johannine 
school, carrying this forward, gave satisfaction also to 
the concrete imagination which felt the need to com- 
bine with it the belief in the reality of a '' Christ 
according to the flesh." For " Paul," a merely appa- 
rent fleshly manifestation of '' the Christ " would have 
been sufficient ; there are indications in the Epistles 
of what was afterwards called '' docetism." The 
school of " John," by avoiding this development, con- 
ciliated the " orthodox ": that is to say, those among 
the leaders who instinctively perceived the importance 
for governing mankind, of keeping terms with the 
prepossessions of the crowd, which evidently could not 
let go the pathetic concrete Jesus, the equivalent for 
the Tammuz or Adonis of the old Semitic cult. The 
popular religious mythology, as distinguished from 
the philosophical mythology of the Christian Gnostics, 
to which by itself Faulinism tended, was thus saved. 
At the same time, ''John" brought more exactitude 
than " Paul" into the philosophical side of the mytho- 
logy. The Alexandrian idea of a mediating Logos, or 
creative Reason, between the supreme God — of 



PAULINISM 47 



philosophy and of Judaism — and the world and man, 
was applied in a peculiar sense to Jesus Christ. The 
man of flesh and blood, and the divine being, were to be 
conceived as mystically united. And the Logos was 
not merely a power or aspect of God, but was God. 
Thus the problem afterwards brought to an orthodox 
solution in the Nicene formula was posited. In any 
admissible solution, formal monotheism had to be 
retained. The average Christian consciousness was 
too Judaic to allow of a real " second God." On the 
other hand, Christian theology, as it was brought more 
in contact with the schools, necessarily worked under 
the dominance of the triadic idea, which then 
fascinated speculative minds. Another mediating 
power, therefore, was required to complete the divine 
triad. This was found in the Holy Spirit (the 
Pneuma), a conception which also appeared on the 
line of Alexandrian Judaism. There is no need to go 
further into the complex process through which 
formal logic on the one side, and the spirit of practical 
accommodation on the other, worked to produce out of 
the scattered data of the New Testament the dogma of 
three co-equal "persons" or "hypostases" in one God. 
It may suffice to say that the type of solution is to 
be found implicitly in " John." " Paul " admitted of 
more varied speculative development. What, then, was 
to become of the forward-striving movement of the 
Pauline school, which preceded the Johannine school 
and was not absorbed into it ? 

The answer is given in ecclesiastical history. The 
" Catholic Church " succeeded in nominally appro- 
priating " Paul"; but he never ceased to be, what he 
had been called in the second century, " the Apostle 
of the Heretics." A slight sketch of the new develop- 
ment by which the transition was made to a 



48 THE OBIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

de-catholicised Christianity will be necessary before 
concluding this introduction. In the meantime, it 
may be worth while to bring into view one or two 
indications that our collection of the '' Epistles of 
Paul/' like the New Testament generally, is long 
subsequent to the year 70. Such indications, indeed, 
have been made clear by Van Manen in the epistles 
he specially deals with : and if these were abandoned, 
there could be no serious thought of defending the 
rest ; while the abandonment of the rest would not by 
itself affect them. It is, therefore, merely for the 
sake of preliminary illustration, and not with the 
notion that the passages cited close the question, that 
I choose an instance from the Epistle to the Galatians 
and one from the first Epistle to the Thessalonians. 

Take the allegory of the two covenants in Gal. iv. 
24-26. Does not the antithesis on the face of it apply 
to two religions, both of them conscious of its claims 
as such; the new not regarding itself as a mere sect of 
the old? But the verse to which I would draw special 
attention is iv. 25, where it is said, in reference to the 
present Jerusalem (ri vvv 'UpovaaXiifi), '^ for she is in 
bondage with her children " {Sov\e6ei yap lura 
Twv riKvwv avrrjg). By contrast, "the Jerusalem 
which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." 
What would have been the point of this while 
Jerusalem with its Temple and its hierarchy stood, 
not only secure, but full of hope soon to be made the 
visible centre of the kingdom of God on earth ?^ 

^ There is not, of course, a formal anachronism, since the Jews 
were all along in varying degrees of subjection to Bome. The cessa- 
tion of the Temple-worship was too conspicuous for the old Christian 
literature to permit itself direct references by Paul to the event, 
unless clothed in the form of prophecy. The political subordination 
of Judsa, however, is quite insufficient to explain the tone Of the 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 49 

A passage that tells, if possible, more strongly in 
the same sense is 1 Thess. ii. 14-16. " The Jews" — 
of whom the Apostle is supposed to be one — are 
*' contrary to all men "; and '' the wrath is come 
upon them to the uttermost." The only question 
about the latter expression is whether it should not be 
referred to some time shortly after 185, when the 
revolt that had finally broken out in the reign of 
Hadrian was suppressed. The former might have 
been borrowed from Tacitus {adversuB omnes alios 
hostile odium). ^ The point of view belongs to a Chris- 
tianity of which the ambition to be a world-religion 
was rising so high that it was already beginning to 
stir up '' anti-Semitism " among the heathen.^ 

9. — The Catholic Church. 

According to the view taken in Van Manen's work, 
the Pauline Epistles in our present text are slightly 
"catholicised." It would be possible to treat the 
passage just quoted from 1 Thessalonians as an inter- 
polation in this sense. The argument, however, 
would not have to be on purely textual grounds, but 

passage, which clearly implies that Judaism is already a defeated 
cause, and that the future of the theocratic idea may now be seen to 
be bound up with Christianity. 

^Hist.y V. 5. 

^ The original should be read to appreciate the absolutely unthink- 
able character of the whole passage in 54, the traditional date : — 
i/fieTs ydp fuimyral iy€vi^drfT€f ddeXtpol, r(av iKKXrjcriQv rod deoO rCov oiauv 
iv rj *lovbaiq, iv Hpurrifi 'IiyeroO, 6ti rii, adrd iTrddere xal ifficts vrrb tQv 
Idltav (rv/i4>v\€TQy, KaOCds Kal a&rol vrrb tCjv *Iov5al(av tQv koX rbv KJ^piov 
dTroKT€ivdvT(av *lTja-ovv koX roifs vpoffyfyras, koX ijfAas iKdi(a^dvT<i)v Kal dcif 
fi^ dp€<XK6vT(av Kal rrcunv dvOptbrrois ivavrliav, K<a\v6vT<av iifms roTs idveair 
\a\rjffat, tva crtaOiaffiv, els rb dva7r\ripCj(rai airrQv rds d/iaprias Trdvrore, 
l^<t>OaK€v bk if 6py^ iv airoin els t4\os. Every clause indicates reminis- 
cence, dramatically referred, in the mouth of the supposed apostolic 
author, to the present or the future. 



«0 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

on grounds of the " higher criticism "; and, as Van 
Manen has shown, when such a process is carried out 
thoroughly, the results are hardly more conservative 
than those that he has arrived at himself. 

In any case, the Pauline Epistles did not originally 
express the ideas of that which afterwards became the 
" Catholic Church." Paul — the ideal author of the 
series — was not, as Comte took him to be, '' the 
founder of Catholicism." Neither was he precisely, 
as Benan called him, '' the Protestant doctor." He 
may be best described as the father of Gnosticism. 
The earliest historic persons influenced by him were 
Basilides and Marcion. They developed "the 
Apostle" (the only one they recognised) in the 
direction of their own anti-Judaism. This anti- 
Judaism was of a speculative kind ; it does not seem 
to have been a form of embittered propaganda. The 
object of the Gnostics was not to capture the multi- 
tude and the State, but to maintain for thiBmselves the 
position of higher speculative thinkers among the 
rising Christian communities. They had no decisive 
part in the ramifying organisation by which Christian 
ecclesiastics succeeded in dominating the world. 
Indeed, they were themselves among those afterwards 
persecuted by its chiefs. 

The self-styled Catholic Church first became visible 
as a growing association of Christian communities 
animated by the ambition of succeeding to the 
theocratic powers of the Jewish hierarchy. These 
powers, as in the dreams of ancient seers, were to 
be expanded till they should sway the world. The 
special representatives of the dream of world-dominion 
came now to be certain practical-minded office- 
bearers, ready to work by all methods, but, on the 
intellectual side, proceeding especially by compromise 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 61 

within limits. As time went on, they naturally became 
more and more hostile to those who, obstinately 
adhering to the elder Jewish community, seemed a 
living protest against their assumptions. An illustra* 
tion of their characteristic mode of dealing with the 
protest was furnished, when they had come into 
power, by Cyril of Alexandria. 

It was not that they in the least sympathised, like 
the speculative Gnostics, with rebellion against the 
wrathful Jehovah of the Old Testament. On the con- 
trary, they adopted into their canon the aspirations of 
the fiercest apocalyptists. Every soul that will not 
hear the new prophet shall be destroyed (Acts iii. 28). 
The " man-child," the seed of the woman, is to 
'^ shepherd all the nations with a rod of iron " 
{iroi/iaiveiv iravra ra iOvti iv pafiSf^ mSrip^, Bev. xii. 
5). ^ His vesture is dipped in blood, and his name is 
the Word of God (xix. 13). In recompense for the 
persecutions and tribulations that they endure, the 
faithful shall rest with the Apostles, ''when the Lord 
Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of 
his power, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them 
that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of 
our Lord Jesus Christ " (2 Thess. i. 7, 8)."^ 

The ideal of the new theocracy was authoritative 
dogma socially supreme. Pure monotheism combined 
with the practice of a ritual would no longer suffice — 
the dogma had been complicated by the revival of 
archaic sacramental conceptions and by a new mytho- 
logy, in part of pagan derivation. The horribilia 

^ Cf. Bev. ii. 27, six. 15. Aooording to a passage in the Sibylline 
OracleSy '^the rod of iron which tends and rules the flock" is the 
Cross (see Deane, Pseudepigrapha, p. 325). 

> The eschatology here is admitted to be not characteristically 
Pauline ; and I do not quote it to illustrate Pauline ideas. 



52 THE ORIGINS OP CHRISTIANITY 

$ecreta^ of ** killing the god " and " eating the god "* 

were to be brought within the forms of logic as if 

they were philosophical truths. The old idea of the 

national Church-State, the '* chosen people/' had passed 

into that of universal hierocracy. In the notion, now 

definitely formulated, of ''heresy and schism " as crimes, 

was involved the deadly germ whence grew the historic 

system compared with which the religions of Dahomey 

and of ancient Mexico were natural and amiable errors. 

Hopes of emancipation from the yoke of tyrannic 

custom that arose in the Christian communities, as 

they had arisen before in Greece, were systematically 

quenched. Definite and repeated sanction of slavery, 

tiiorough-going " subjection of women," political 

maxims that have been rightly interpreted in the sense 

of ** passive obedience," may contrast with the spirit 

of much in the New Testament; but it is in them 

that we perceive the authentic ''mind of the Church." 

And yet there could never be any doubt that, if they 

once came into conflict with the system of the 

hierarchy and its dogma, all civil and domestic ties 

would be dissolved. Criticism seems to have justified 

the audacious suggestion of Hobbes, that what was 

originally meant by the sin against the Holy Ghost, 

which could never be forgiven, was resistance to the 

ecclesiastical power. 

This was the system that conquered in the fourth 
century. In its absence no doubt the imperial govern- 
ment would, all the same, have become nominally 

^ Cf, Spinoza, Ep. 74: ^'Desine, inquam, absordos errores mysteria 
appellare, nee turpiter eonfunde ilia, quae nobis incognita vel nondom 
reperta sunt, eum ils, quae absorda esse demonstrantur, uti sunt 
huius eoclesiae horribilia secreta, quae, quo magis rectae rationi 
repugnant, eo ipsa intellectum transcendere credis/' 

^ See Mr. Frazer's Oolden Bough for the unveiling of the secrets. 



THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 53 

" theocratic." The deified emperor would have pre- 
sided over a syncretism of recognised religions. 
Philosophy, withdrawn wholly from politics, or, if it 
ever touched them, recurring to the republican tradi- 
tions of the past for illustrations, would have retained 
in pure thought the independence it possessed. The 
effective government would have been a secular 
despotism tempered by law, without the superposition 
of a spiritual tyranny in action. It is an interesting 
problem whether this would have been more easily 
broken through than the double order — secular and 
spiritual — ^handed down to the West. In any event, 
it could not have been more impregnably fixed than 
the Christian theocratic State of the East, which in its 
older form perished by foreign conquest, but which 
has never, so far, been shattered from within : and in 
comparison with Eastern orthodoxy it would have 
been a free and humane civilisation. A more soluble 
question than this fascinating one of hypothetical 
history is the causation of events as they actually 
occurred. With the two systems of philosophic pagan 
comprehension and of Christian intolerance face to 
face, there could be no doubt, in the circumstances of 
the time, as to the issue. Even in a time of widely- 
diffused science and freedom the terrors and the 
glamour of superstition are not easily dispelled. 
When the conflict actually came, the world had 
already been broken in to autocracy ; and the know- 
ledge that there was of nature and history, though 
more than sufficient for dealing with the new dogma- 
tists in equal debate, had no hold on the multitude. 
The theocracy, as its apologists boasted, had sapped the 
organisation of the empire ; and, even if its devotees 
numbered less than a tenth of the indifferent or 
hostile, the transcendent threats and promises of its 



54 THE ORIGINS OF CHBISTIANITT 

creed, and its readiness, whenever its time came, to 
inflict sustained, not fitful, persecution, would assure 
it the victory. What it needed was that, in the con- 
tention for imperial power, a successful candidate 
should have seen the value of its support. Nominal 
tolerance accorded, the victory was won. The dominant 
faction in the Church pressed ever more relentlessly, 
through its court-prelates, for the persecution of its 
antagonists, whether mere polytheists or Christian 
heretics or philosophical Hellenists. Against popular 
superstitions not incorporated in its new pantheon of 
saints and martyrs, the religion of baptismal regenera- 
tion and of exorcism by the cross adopted the old laws 
against "magic." Heresy — that is, choice of one's 
own belief,^ was made " treason against God," as to 
which evidence could be elicited by torture, whether 
the accused was " bond or free "; here there was 
equality. Lastly, the schools of philosophy were 
closed, their endowments confiscated, and those who 
should " Hellenise " proscribed. 

10. — The Later History of Paulinism. 

With all their arrogant claims, and with all their 
weapons of fraud and violence, the great Churches 
called Catholic and Orthodox have never for a moment 
succeeded in bringing within their unity even the 
whole of those who call themselves Christians. 
'* Heresies and schisms " there have always been ; 
and, in spite of persecutions, their life has been 
again and again renewed. In this succession '' the 
Apostle of the Heretics " had an important part. 
After the Gnostics of the earliest Christian centuries, 

1 Cf, 2. Peter i. 20: inura Trpofpffrela ypa<fnis I9las iwiKOirttat od yiwerau 



THE LATEB HISTOBY OF PAULINISM 56 

who were the first to attach themselves to the name 
of Paul, there came the Manichseans, in whose 
doctrines there were Christian elements of the 
same derivation.^ Then, after the victory of the 
Church, there survived in corners of the Eastern 
Empire the Paulicians ;^ whose teaching at length, by 
a complex process, affected the West in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries. The episode in which their 
heresy was stamped out is by general consent the 
most atrocious in the annals even of Christendom. 
There went on, nevertheless, groups hostile to the 
great Church ; but with a difference. The tendency 
now began to be in the direction of modern Pro- 
testantism. But as before, so now, a basis was 
sought in the writings attributed to the Apostle Paul. 
Here takes place a curious transition, which has 
scarcely been enough dwelt on, though Gibbon clearly 
perceived it. For the anti- Judaic Paul of the Gnostics 
is substituted the essentially Judaising Paul of the 
Protestant Churches. That there are Judaising 
passages in the Epistles must, of course, be admitted; 
but it seems likely that the almost contemporary 
Gnostics had a truer feeling for the general drift of 
their ideal Apostle than late comers like the fourteenth- 
century precursors of Luther and Calvin. Modem 

1 Some of the unfortunate seetaries made large attempts at com- 
prehension ; as is indicated in the words pronounced by converts to 
the ** Church universal ** when they abjured their errors of theological 
'^liberalism/' *'I anathematise those who say that Zarades (i.e., 
Zarathustra) and Buddha and Christ and ManichsBus and the Sun 
are one and the same." The Greek formula is given by Cumont, 
Textei et Monuments figur^B relatifs aux My stores deMithra, i. (1899), 
p. 349, n. 5, who cites it from Eessler, Manx (1889), p. 404. 

2 "The name of the Paulicians is derived by their enemies from 
some unknown and domestic teacher ; but I am confident that they 
gloried in their affinity to the Apostle of the Gentiles" (Gibbon, 
Roman Empire, liv., ed. Bury, vol. vi., p. 112). 



56 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

Protestants have interpreted their Paul in the light of 
the Old Testament canon accepted by the Babbis, and 
with the help of a juridical theory of the sacrifice of 
Christ elaborated by Catholic doctors like Anselm. 
The Paulicians of the twelfth century were still of the 
old Gnostic type, professing a dualism for which the 
God of the Jews was a subordinate if not an evil 
being. In the fourteenth century a new type of 
Paulinist, who yields to no Hebrew psalmist or 
prophet in devotion to Jehovah, has begun to emerge; 
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the type 
definitely appears. Less interesting from the specu- 
lative point of view, the new doctrine has proved of 
tougher fibre practically. With the Paulicianism of 
the Middle Ages it had, however, one feature in 
common. Against the tyranny of priests and despots 
it showed, as its strength grew, something of the 
spirit of insurgent theocracy, " to the pulling down of 
strongholds" (2 Cor. x. 4). Moreover, since it denied 
/ the supernatural powers of the old hierarchy, it 
expelled in practice the " forgiveness of sins." One 
who had " faith " might indeed believe that his sins 
were " forgiven " through Christ ; but, after all, he 
was thrown back for satisfaction on his own conscience, 
which, as Kant says, is more exacting than a con- 
fessor ; no one else could tell him that he was absolved. 
The commission to the Apostles and their successors 
to "remit" sins or "retain" them was in effect 
cancelled. This was an immense gain for moral 
progress, though the new doctrine of " faith alone " 
might in itself be no sounder than the old one of 
religious " works " — that is, devotional exercises. 
The insurgent side of the doctrine was just as 
beneficent. The divine right of kings was indeed 
preached even more zealously and in a more 



THE LATER HISTORY OF PAULINISM 67 

unqualified manner by Protestant than by Catholic 
ecclesiastics, when the papal overlordship had dis- 
appeared and there were Protestant State Churches ; 
but the gemius of the new form of Christianity told 
against it. The destruction of political absolutism was 
begun by the Protestant nations. 

In this prelude of revolution, it is fair to allow that 
the reading of the Old Testament was not without 
effect. The Hebrew Scriptures contain, indeed, the 
idea of legitimist theocracy ; but they also contain, 
more effectively than anything in Paul, the ideas of 
theocrats in revolt, who will obey none but an 
invisible king, and who are even on the way to 
refuse submission to priests as his interpreters. ' Not 
that such ideas have the least positive value for the 
founding of a constitution. The development of the 
English polity, for example, would have been impos- 
sible without the structural basis of old Teutonic or 
other customary rights, reinforced by intellectual con- 
ceptions of the State, derived not from Judaea, but 
from Greece and Rome. Still, without the element 
of Hebraic fervour, all might have ended in anti- 
quarianism and literary reminiscences. The sacred- 
ness of '' Christian monarchy," as it still appeared to 
the devout and loyal imagination of the seventeenth 
century, had to be counteracted by the popular force 
of a religious emotion on the other side. 

We have thus at a few strides got far away from the 
origins and arrived at the time of the irrevocable dis- 
ruption of Christendom on a world-wide scale. From 
this time forth it has also been confronted as a whole 
with independent or free thought. If we recross the 
intermediate period, then, as we approach the origins, 
we find the position in this respect on the surface 
identical. ''Revealed religion" has not yet come into 



58 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

fall possession of the power, which it was to retain for 
over a thousand years but at length to lose, of repres- 
sing the "liberty of philosophising." Before con- 
cluding, we must dwell for a moment on this last 
phase of the ancient world. 

11. — Philosophy against Revealed Religion. 

The remark was made above that the resistance of 
the second century to the propagandists of new revela- 
tions secured a breathing-space for independent philo- 
sophy. This respite enabled Plotinus, in the third 
century, to found the last great philosophical system 
of antiquity, since known as Neo-Platonism, without 
so much as naming the Catholic Church ; though in 
one book he opposed the doctrines of the Gnostics. 
The Gnostic Christians, with their high speculative 
pretensions, no doubt seemed better worth refutation 
at the hands of a philosopher than the orthodox, who 
would, to him, represent only the purely deceptive side 
of the movement. Plotinus finds, indeed, in the 
Gnostics a sort of blurred reflexion of Plato : and yet 
we should know from his tractate, if we had no other 
evidence, that they too were anti-Hellenic fanatics, 
full of the arrogance which regarded the whole visible 
world and all men except the Christians as shut out 
from the care of divine, as distinguished from demonic^ 
or even diabolic, power. The new philosophical 
development was not, in the long run, without benefit 
to Christianity itself as a system which could give 
satisfaction to those who sought in religion higher 
elements than creed and ceremonial. Much that 
ordinarily passes for Christianity is really Stoicism or 
Platonism; and the Neo-Platonists, becoming the 
authorised expositors of the ancient philosophy so 



PHILOSOPHT AGAINST KBYEALED BELIGION 59 

long as the teaching of it was unsuppressed, imbued 
educated Christians with some of the learning of the 
schools. Besides, they made contributions of their 
own to speculation, which Christian thinkers found 
their advantage in borrowing. 

In view of all that has been said about the 
" theurgy " of the school, it is necessary to point out 
that Neo-Platonism remained essentially a philosophy. 
It had no new religion to advocate ; but, if allowed, 
would have continued the process of allegorising and 
morally reforming the religions of the GraBCO-Roman 
world. Some members of the school refused to have 
anything to do with theurgy ; and, if others were 
infected with the contagion of the age, that is not 
surprising. What divides them all fundamentally 
from the Christians — and, indeed, from the Oriental 
world generally — is their attitude to mythology. 
With them myth is clearly distinguished from science. 
They allegorise the adventures of a god while denying 
explicitly that what is related of the god ever took 
place. It appears that some, following Plato himself, 
objected even to this degree of compliance with 
popular religion. Proclus, in his commentary on the 
Repvhlic, argues against those who blamed the Greek 
myths for giving a handle to the Christians,^ who 
were accustomed to make points by denouncing their 
immorality. His reply is singularly modern. The 
abuse does not take away the use : it might equally 
well be urged that intoxicants ought to be expelled 
from the State because some indulge in them to 
excess. Divine myths are to be used in modera- 
tion : they are to be treated in their obvious sense 
as myths, and not as an expression of pure reason ; 

^ Alluded to, bat not mentioned by name. 



60 THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

but a philosophical meaning is to be sought under 
them. 

Now, of course, the mode of allegorising Homer 
common to the l»ter Greek schools, while often 
interesting in itself, ted away from the truth about 
the real nature of the poems, which were not exposi- 
tions of philosophical theology. But it is well to 
recognise that after all there is something in the 
point of view. The old myth-makers, not being able 
to express themselves by abstractions, but only by 
imagery, did often convey a general truth by this 
means. The philosophers themselves, in putting 
forth their interpretations, were accustomed to express 
a doubt whether this had been done self-consciously 
or by a sort of instinct. It is still quite easy to find 
under stories like the Fall of Man or the Tower of 
Babel such mythical truth as was found under many 
Greek myths; and a philosopher cannot reasonably 
be blamed for exercising his ingenuity in this way — 

** dam vera re tamen ipse 
Religione nniTngm turpi oontingere paroat.** 

The meaning educed from the Bible stories, as from 
similar stories in Hesiod, may have been put there 
originally : they seem to be examples of myth passing 
into the reflective stage. At any rate, the question 
would furnish an interesting topic for disputation. 
And it must be conceded that, if the philosophers 
could have retained for popular use the old system as 
against the new, they would have been preserving for 
the time a less cruel superstition. 

The Christians, much as some might have liked to 
be rid of the whole tradition that had preceded them, 
soon found that, to keep their hold on a world still 
inheriting the remains of intellectual culture, they 
needed a formal philosophy to combine with their 



PHILOSOPHT AGAINST REVEALED RELIGION 61 

mythology. This they could only derive from the 
Greek schools. Neo-Platonism famished them with 
their later theory of the immaterial soul. And it is a 
remarkable fact that a religion said to have been 
revealed has had to recur, for every serious effort to 
find in the universe the manifestation of a rational 
and moral order, to thinkers who never pretended to 
have obtained what they might offer in this direction 
by anything but the exercise of their own reason. 
Some tribute ought to be paid to the better minds in 
the period of established Christianity for thus going 
back to the wisdom of the Greeks, so contemptuously 
contrasted in documents they held sacred with the 
" foolishness " that was to confound it. "We owe, for 
example, to William of Morbeka, the Dominican 
Archbishop of Corinth in the latter part of the 
thirteenth century, the preservation, in a Latin 
version, of three treatises of Proclus containing the 
exposition of his theodicy. And these, in the half 
unintelligible translation, may still be read with 
interest ; while Leibniz's corresponding treatise, 
through its official acceptance of elements common to 
the Protestant and Catholic creeds of the seventeenth 
century, is already obsolete. 

The radical question between the Neo-Platonists 
and the Christians was whether philosophy should be 
formally above popular religion or popular religion 
above philosophy. A system of thought summing up 
for its time the tradition of the highest civilisation 
attained could not submit to become the ** handmaid" 
of a faith it regarded as barbarian. And this was to 
be the position assigned to philosophy during the 
lowered civilisation into which Europe was now 
sinking. In modern times philosophy has again so 
far emancipated itself that it can subsist as a kind of 



THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 



scientific specialism without doing homage to the 
creed still nominally accepted by the world at large ; 
bat, till the position is formally reversed, the ancient 
civilisation, in which b11 who were not content simply 
with custom sought light from philosophy, must be 
classed as in this respect higher than the modern. Of 
course, no one would propose to revive Neo-Platonism 
as a philosophic creed. It has, however, some typical 
value as the result of a long process of thought, which, 
cautious as it might have to be in relation to popular 
feeling, needed to pay deference to no constituted 
authority in matters oiF opinion. How long has this 
been true of modern philosophy ?^ 

12. — Conclusion. 

A short writing entitled Derision of the Gentile 
Philosophers (Acacrv/o/uoc rCJv e^oi ^eXotro^oiv), by a 
certain Hermias otherwise unknown, throws inter- 
esting light on the attitude of the victorious faith 
about the fifth or sixth century. '' Paul, the blessed 
Apostle," the author begins, " writing to the Corin- 
thians, declared, * beloved, the wisdom of this world 
is folly with God'; speaking not at random: fori 
think it took its origin from the apostasy of the 
angels. Through which cause the philosophers set 

1 On the naturalistio side, Oomte claimed to have been the first to 
be perfectly open, though the real position of some of his predecessors 
is unmistakeable. In theories of constructive idealism, some ambi- 
guity is to be met with even now through tacit reference to a JudsBO- 
Christian mythological position as regards ** creation." How many 
idealistic thinkers venture to put quite plainly the perfectly intelligible 
question, whether an absolute beginning of phenomena is to be 
assumed on their principles? Here there would be an advantage 
in referring to the Neo-Platonists, not necessarily to agree with them, 
but in order to start from some thesis maintained on rational grounds. 



CONCLUSION 68 



forth opinions neither in harmony nor correspondent." 
Simplicias, one of the Neo-Platonists who sought 
philosophic liberty in Persia when the schools at 
Athens were closed by Justinian, puts the other side 
of the case. We must not think, he says, that the 
differences of expression among philosophers indicate 
such absolute opposition as they are reproached with 
by some who, acquainted only with historical com- 
pendia, understand nothing of what they read. More- 
over, those who reproach them are themselves cloven 
by schisms innumerable, not about physical prin- 
ciples (for of these no notion visits them even in 
dream), but about the mode of degrading the divinity 
(vepi Trjv KaOalpsiriv Trig Oetag inrepoxv^) -^ 

As a matter of fact, the method of Hermias is 
precisely that which is here hinted at. Such and such 
A philosopher (says the derider) held that water was the 
principle of things; another "the infinite," another 
air, another fire, and so forth : which am I to believe ? 
Of the emergence of truth from free discussion he has 
no conception. Since the philosophers do not offer 
him an infallible revelation, their wisdom is folly. 
The most interesting passage comes at the end, where 
he successively scoffs at the Pythagoreans and the 
Epicureans. Pythagoras (the inquirer is supposed 
to cry out) measures the world ; and I, raised to 
enthusiasm by this idea, forget family and country 
and wife and children, and set out on an expedition 
to measure all the elements. If, mighty body and 
mighty soul that I am, I do not go up to heaven and 
measure the aether, the dominion of Zeus is gone.^ 

^ Quoted by Diels, Doxographi Qraeci^ Prolegomena, p. 259. 
3 Observe how the Christian writer seeks an ally in popular poly- 
theism as against philosophy and science. 



64 THE OBIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY 

When Zeas has learned from me how many angles 
fire has, I again descend ; and, eating olives and figs 
and herbs, I apply my measuring-rod to the moist 
substance, and teach Poseidon what is the extent of 
sea he rules. I know lihio the number of the stars 
and of fishes and of beasts ; and, by placing the world 
in balance, I can easily learn its weight. 

But (he proceeds) I am not yet at the end of my 
labours. Epicurus comes and tells me that I have 
measured one world, indeed, but that there are many 
and infinite worlds. I furnish myself with provisions 
for a few days, and set out to measure these also. At 
length, having measured, say, the thousandth world, 
I become bewildered. "But why do I delay to 
number the very atoms, out of which so many worlds 
have come into being ; to the end that I may leave 
nothing unexplored, especially of things that are so 
necessary and useful to the prosperity of a household 
and a city?" 

By a strange irony of events, the derider of philo- 
sophy, in what he says of measurement and number 
and atoms, has sketched out the programme which 
became that of modern science when the great dark- 
ness receded. If we are to guard against the return 
of that darkness, we must remain faithful to the prin- 
ciple that was the final object of his scorn — the dis- 
interested pursuit of truth. 



ST. PAUL : 



AN EXPOSITION OF THE INVESTIGATIONS OF 
DE. W. C. VAN MANEN, 

Profettor in Leyden 

I. THE ACTS OP THE APOSTLES 
n. THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 
m, THE EPISTLES TO THE COBINTHIANS 



Part I. 

THE ACTS OP THE APOSTLES 

In our investigation of the Pauline Epistles and the 
history of Paulinism, it is desirable first to arrive at a 
judgment on the historical value of the Acts of the 
Apostles. Here two opposite errors are to be avoided. 
The Tubingen school, assuming the genuineness of 
the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians (1 and 2), 
and Galatians, set aside the testimony of Acts 
wherever it conflicted with what was supposed to be a 
direct statement of Paul. By reaction from this 
arbitrary procedure, the danger has arisen that the 
trustworthiness of the representation of Paul's life and 
work in Acts may with no less arbitrariness be taken 
for granted as against the representation in the 
Epistles. In view of this, we must, for the moment, 
postpone the discussion of the Epistles, and examine 
the Acts of the Apostles as a book standing by itself. 
If we can here arrive at security, we shall have 
gained a foothold not to be despised for our further 
inquiries. 

Section I. 

THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 

I. — The Unity of the Work. 

We have not before us the work of an eye-witness 
of the events narrated. These are too far apart in 
time and place for the unity to be of this kind. Yet 

67 



68 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

there is no doabt about the anity itself. The book is 
no loose stringing together of reports or traditions 
from various sources, but has a definite order and 
plan. There are references in the later to the earlier 
portions of the narrative, and when the connexion 
has been broken it is expressly taken up again. The 
history, too, has a definite movement. We see 
Christianity spreading into wider and wider circles, 
from Jews to Samaritans, to God-fearing heathens 
like Cornelius, and then to ordinary Greeks, till at 
last its universal destination is made visible. The 
apostles come to the consciousness of this by degrees* 
It is true that we may speak of a '' Petrine *' and of a 
** Pauline " part of Acts, but these have numerous 
inter-connexions. Like the third Gospel, this second 
book of Luke — as we may call the writer for conveni- 
ence^ — is a rounded-oflf whole. The appearance of 
incompleteness, due to the abrupt conclusion, is only 
apparent. That Paul was to die at Home had been 
already hinted (xx. 22-24, xxi. 4, 11-14, xxvii. 23-24). 
For not actually mentioning his death, as it took place 
there according to tradition, the reason most probably 
was that the writer did not wish to arouse prejudice 
on the part of the Bomans, whom it was his object to 
prepossess in favour of Christianity. 

The persistency with which that aim is kept in view 
is another proof of the unity of the work. The Jews 
are represented as rejecting and persecuting the new 
"way"; the Romans as benevolently disposed towards 
it, and as taking its missionaries under their protec- 

1 There is no reason, as Van Manen remarks, for rejecting the 
tradition which assigns the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles 
to the same author. The author, however, was not Luke, the com- 
panion of Paul mentioned in the Epistles. A conjecture is offered 
later to account for the attachment of his name to the two works. 



THE ORIGIN OP ACTS 



tion. No speaker for the cause of Christianity fails to 
make it clear that, although Pilate gave his assent to 
the death of Jesus, the guilt was with the Jews. 
Persecution of Christianity, the writer is bent on 
showing, had never in those days taken its origin 
from the Romans. How, then, it is implicitly argued, 
can another line of action now be taken against the 
people, "everywhere spoken against" though they 
might be, whose great Apostle had been constantly 
moving about in the heathen world, and had himself 
been a Roman citizen ?^ 

No difference as regards the universal destination 
of the Gospel is represented as existing between Peter 
and Paul. Peter speaks of himself as chosen from 
ancient days (a^^ riij.spwv ap\altjv) to preach the 
Gospel among the heathen (xv. 7). None of the 
chiefs raise any objections to the un-Jewish proceed- 
ings of Paul and Barnabas. On the other side, Paul 
displays no hostility to the brethren at Jerusalem. 
As a rule, he does not address himself to the heathen 
till forced by the obstinacy of the Jews. He is from 
the first in vital and constant relations with the 
mother-community, and submits to its decisions ; and 
in every forward step that he takes he has been preceded 
by someone else. To all he consistently proclaims 
his belief in the Law.^ 

The style, which remains the same with few excep- 
tions even in the speeches of the different persons, is 

1 This, as we shall see later, was probably a fiction of " Luke.** 
The apology directed to the Romans points, of course, to the second 
century, which is indicated by various other circumstances as the 
period when the book assumed its present form. 

' It is this representation in particular that is in such glaring con- 
tradiction with that of Galatians, and led directly, the Epistles being 
supposed genuine, to the assumption of the general untrustworthiness 
of Acts. 



70 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

another proof of the unity of the book. This casting 
of all into a certain form, however, does not prove 
the whole to be a work of poetic reflection or the 
persons a "free creation." Neither is it simply 
contemporary Mstorj plvs tradition. Luke also had 
written sources. 

II. — ^Its Composition. 

The evidences, indeed, of imaginative reconstruction 
are plain. Peter could not, in addressing his fellow- 
countrymen, have spoken of the Jewish authorities as 
" your rulers " (iii. 17), nor of the sending of the Son 
of God first to Israel (iii. 26).^ In the vehement out- 
burst at the end of Stephen's speech we hear the voice, 
not of Stephen himself over against the Sanhedrin, but 
of the later Christianity against the Judaism from which 
it had separated, and which had since had abundant 
opportunity to " resist the Holy Ghost." It is a 
similar dramatic transference of the ideas of the 
present to the past when Paul and Barnabas " turn to 
the Gentiles " (xiii. 46). Headers are to be made to 
feel that "Paul" is compelled to take this step 
because the Jews have rejected " the grace of God." 
This is also the effect aimed at in the bitter, and at 
the same time foolish, outburst of Paul against the 
Jews at Corinth (xviii. 6). 

That the work is not a free composition all through 
is shown, however, by the intermingling of incon- 
sistent traditions. In the account of the " speaking 

^ I have not given many details of this somewhat ruthless disseotioii* 
The traditionalist who could succeed in imagining i. 19 {Hart Kkridijwiu 
rb x<^p^ov iKCtPO tJ IdLqi dioKiKTtfi ain&v *AKe\dafidxt rovriffrip x^^P^ 
atfjMTot) as spoken by Peter at Jerusalem, would certainly be incurablo 
by any method known to logic. 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 71 

with tongues," the older tradition that it was an affec- 
tion such as is described in 1 Cor. xii. and xiv. is 
fused with the newer, that it was a gift, instantaneously 
conferred, of speaking foreign languages. To the 
latter the accusation of being drunk could have no 
relevance. Sometimes it is the imparting of the 
Holy Ghost, sometimes it is baptism, that is the mark 
of the Christian. In xi. 16 (c/. i. 5) the being baptised 
with the Holy Ghost (/3a7rr/?€(T0a£ iv Trveifmri ayl(^) 
of the Christians is set over against the baptising 
with water (fiairrlKBiv vSan) of John. In the other 
tradition, to receive the Holy Ghost is a special 
gift independent of baptism. Again, in xix. 5, con- 
verts at Ephesus have to be re-baptised (after having 
been baptised with the baptism of John), that they 
may receive the Holy Ghost. 

With this is connected another double tradition. 
On the one side, '^ the apostles " are clearly indicated 
as the highest authority among Christians. They 
have a doctrine (t? ^iBaxfj rc5v aTrooroXaiv) which is to 
be adhered to (ii. 42) ; work miracles ; have the 
power of life and death ; appoint deacons ; remain as 
a high court at Jerusalem ; send out missionaries. 
All submit to their " dogmas" (xvi. 4). Luke, how- 
ever, knows a different tradition, according to which 
the highest authority among Christians is the Holy 
Ghost, by which the overseers of the flocks are 
directly appointed (xx. 28). Sometimes he attempts 
to combine these two traditions, as, for example, when 
the decision of the council at Jerusalem is put in the 
form, " It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us " 
(iSo^su Tcf trvivfiari rcf aylii^ koi rifjuvy XV. 28) . 

The eldest community is, on the one hand, repre- 
sented as an ideal of love and harmony. On the 
other hand, there are such circumstances as the 



72 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

contention among the widows that led to the appoint- 
ment of deacons (vi. 1-7), the small-minded quarrel- 
ling about eating with heathen converts, and so forth. 
The community spreads rapidly, and yet can remain 
long undisturbed at Jerusalem. It has favour with 
all the people (ii. 47), and yet is subjected from the 
first to mockery and persecutions. Paul has scarcely 
gone over to Christianity when his life is threatened. 

Luke knows different answers to the question. Who 
first made converts among the heathen ? One account 
would ascribe this to the evangelist Philip, another to 
Peter, a third to certain men of Cyprus and Cyrene 
(xi. 19-22), a fourth to Paul and Barnabas (xiii. 46^9), 
a fifth to Paul and no one else. To this end was Paul 
chosen by the Lord from the first (ix. 15, xxii. 21, 
xxvi. 16-18). The presence of this tradition is 
especially evident in Luke's abrupt way of making 
him turn his back on the Jews to whom he has only 
just addressed himself. 

About Paul himself the traditions are inconsistent. 
He is a ^' young man," apparently of no special 
importance, at the time of the death of Stephen, and 
yet is old enough to become immediately afterwards the 
moving spirit of a bloody persecution, which ceases when 
he goes over to Christianity (ix. 81). He is represented 
as a contemporary of the Apostles and in constant 
relations with them ; yet on his last visit to Jerusalem 
he is received not by the Apostles, but only by "the 
brethren." Altogether, it is here as if we were in a 
later generation. Luke knows the tradition according 
to which his calling was not of men, but from the 
risen Lord. He knows also an account in which 
Ananias {avfjp av\a(ifig Kara tov vo/iov, fiaprvpovfuvog 
vwo iravTwv twv KaroiKOvvrwv 'Iov8a«aiv, Xxii. 12) plays 
an important part in his conversion. In accordance 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 73 

with this representation, Paul seeks and gains access 
to the apostles, obeys their directions, and submits to 
their decisions. 

Luke has a double view as to the circle in which he 
was called to work. Sometimes he is represented as 
having the heathen pointed out to him from the first 
as the goal of his endeavours. Among his converts 
" Greeks ' ' are especially mentioned. Where the heathen 
converts come from, however, is not always clear. At 
Beroea, for example, nothing can be inferred from the 
context but that they came from the synagogue of the 
Jews (xvii. 12). At Athens he both visits the syna- 
gogue and speaks publicly to all alike. To James and 
the presbyters at Jerusalem (xxi. 19) he has nothing 
to report on his activity among the Jews, but tells 
what God has done among the Gentiles by his 
ministry. According to another conception of that 
ministry, it always began with the Jews ; and it had 
some success among them. They are put in the first 
place among those addressed at Athens (xvii. 17), 
though we hear nothing of them there afterwards. 
The Jews look upon him as having to do especially 
with them, since they are constantly accusing him and 
raising tumults against him. He is regarded by them 
as their special enemy (6 avOpfjjirog 6 KaTa tov Xaov 
Koi TOV vo/uLOv KoL TOV TOTTOv TOVTOv TTcivTag TravTaxtj 
ScSa<TK(tiv, xxi. 28). 

On the substance also ot Paul's preaching Luke knows 
a double tradition. According to one conception of 
it, not only the Athenians, but the Jews and even the 
first Christians, would have had a right to speak of his 
" new doctrine," and to call him a " setter forth of 
strange gods." Jesus is proclaimed, no longer as the 
Christ in the sense of the Messiah promised to Israel, 
but as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, newly revealed, 



74 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

and the object of a ''faith" which ''justifies" and 
" saves " as the Law cannot do. Through him is 
"forgiveness of sins." The "grace of God" and 
" eternal life " are for the believers in Christ. Paul 
does not preach the God of the Jews, but a God 
hitherto unknown (xvii. 28). This God dwells not in 
temples made with hands, hence not in the shrine at 
Jerusalem.^ Paul's Jewish and primitive Christian 
opponents^ alike know well that he does not really 
"keep the law." Side by side with this, however, 
there is another representation, according to which 
he simply taught that Christ, the Jewish Messiah, 
" must needs have suffered and risen again from the 
dead " (xvii. 8). The content of his preaching is not, 
as elsewhere, the new " gospel of the grace of God," 
but the traditional " kingdom of God " (xix. 8, etc.), 
into which Christians must enter through much 
tribulation (xiv. 22). He has done nothing against 
his people or its law (ivavrtov ru^ Xacf ^ roic t^KTi ToXg 
waTpt^oig, xxviii. 17), of which he has been from first 
to last a scrupulous observer (xxi. 20-27). Even as a 
Christian, he is a worshipper of the God of his fathers 

' The address to the Athenians put in Paul's mouth is here viewed 
as an expression of those " Pauline ** ideas of which the later Gnosti- 
cism, with its subordination of the God of the Jews to the highest 
God, was a development. If we were to regard it more as an original 
composition of Luke, and less as the expression of any tradition, even 
that of the ** Paulinists,*' it might be interpreted as an outline of the 
typical orthodox apologetic of the second century described by Benan. 
The apologists, as Benan points out, appealed, with small sincerity, to 
the educated classes of the Boman Empire on the ground of that 
philosophic monotheism which as a rule they already held, seeking to 
give the impression that acceptance of the new faith would mean 
little more than making such a rational theology official. 

> These, according to Van Manen, are figured in the legend of Bar- 
Jesus (xiii. 6-12), the ** son" or disciple of Jesus->in other words, the 
Christian of the old stamp. 



THE OBIGIN OF ACTS 75 

(ofjLoXoyu) Si TOVTO <TOi, OTi KaTU rfiv oSov fflf Xiyovaiv 
aipi<Tiv, ovTiog Xarpevu) rcf warpi^ifi Oeiif, xxiv. 14).^ 
Lake endeavours to reconcile these two views by their 
simple juxtaposition. This may be seen in the 
peculiar form of statement about Paul's preaching ; 
for example, ix. 20 {iKfipv<T<nv rov 'Iiiaovv, on ovt6c 
ioTiv 6 viog rov Oeov). To " preach Jesus," and " that 
this is the Son of God," may still be discerned as two 
conceptions, which have not arrived at complete 
fusion. 

As might be conjectured from his introduction to 
the third Gospel, Luke has drawn for these various 
traditions partly on written sources. This can be 
proved by a direct examination of Acts. Various 
confusions and contradictions in the narrative are 
explicable by a partially free working up of material, 
together with retention to a certain extent of the very 
phrases of the documents. The words '' through the 
Holy Ghost " {Sia irvivfiaroQ ayiov) in i. 2 have the 
appearance of an interpolation by someone who 
wished to say that Jesus taught by the Holy Spirit 
before his ascension — a statement really inconsistent 
with i. 4, 5, according to which the disciples were to 
wait at Jerusalem for it to be given. If there is no 
reason to think that the interpolator was any one but 
the author of the book, then we may suppose him to 
have extended a sentence which he took over from 
some previous narrator, and not to have noticed the 
effect of the addition. A similar explanation will 
apply to the confused passage v. 12-15. So also to 
Gamaliel's warning in v. 38-39 (on iav y i^ avOpwwwv 
ii fiovXrj avTfi rj to ipyov rovTO, KaToXvOfitnrai ' h 



^ Here we see the tradition preserved of the time when Christianitj 
was merely a sect, a aXpeaiSt of Jadaism. 



76 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

Si Ik Oeov icrrtv, ov 8vvi}(T€(T0€ fcaroXvo-ai airovc), 
which obviously breaks the connexion. The repe- 
titions and the interrupted connexion in the account 
of the death of Stephen may be similarly explained 
by insertions from Luke's hand in a narrative 
on which he worked. The account of Simon Magus 
points to the use of two different sources; in one 
of which the effect produced by the preaching of 
Philip was celebrated, while in the other the 
Samaritan magician was represented as trying to get 
the Holy Ghost at his disposal, like the Apostles. 
Passing over other instances of imperfect redaction, 
we come to the passages, of which xvi. 10 offers the 
first example, where the narrative changes from the 
third person to the first. This points to the literal 
taking over of fragments from an itinerary, and will 
occupy us later. In the meantime, one or two cases 
may be noted that come further on in the book. The 
Areopagus, where Paul is said to have delivered his 
discourse at Athens (xvii. 19), was a law-court. Here 
was no place where everyone was at liberty to expound 
his theology to passers-by. Perhaps Luke found it 
stated, in the source he used, that at Athens, as else- 
where, Paul had had to defend himself before the 
legal authorities. This would explain the circum- 
stance that those who brought him to the Areopagus 
are said to have laid hold of him (tTriXafiofuvoi Si 
avTOv im rov "ApHOv vayov fr/ayov). The author, 
working over this in his own way, imagined an 
encounter with philosophers curious to hear a new 
doctrine set forth. In xix. 14 seven sons of Sceva are 
spoken of ; they are afterwards (xix. 16) referred to 
as "both" (afjL(t>0Tipwv, changed by correctors to 
avTwv). The probable explanation is that Luke 
curtailed the intermediate narrative, transcribing 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 7T 

literally the portions of it which he took over. 
Lastly, observe what seems the hopeless confusion of 
XX. 4, 5,^ where those who followed are said to have 
gone before. 

There were then written sources. Can we ascertain 
what those sources were ? 

8. — Sources. 
Pauline Letters. 

Were our " Epistles of Paul " among the sources? 
Of one thing there is no doubt : the author nowhere 
makes mention of a letter written by Paul. However 
this may be explained, it does not lead us to expect 
diligent use in his work of a collection of Pauline 
epistles. Exact investigation of the details entirely 
supports the presumption — if we do not take for 
granted that the Epistles, being older, must have been 
used. Some points of detail seem to show that the 
writer knew Pauline letters — perhaps a collection — 
and borrowed one or two things from them ; but such 
points are not numerous.^ 

For example, the resemblance between Acts xv. and 
Gal. ii. is so striking, in spite of much difference, that 
we are justified in supposing one of the accounts of 

^ Van Manen discusses this passage at length. 

^ In a supplement to this investigation, the opinion is quoted of 
M. Sabatier, who accepts all the Epistles of Paul as genuine except 
those to Timothy and Titus : " Parmi les sources historiques du livre 
des ActeSy il ne faut point compter les'^pitres pauliniennes.'' " Nona 
ne Youlons pas contester la possibility en soi que Luc ait vu ou lu une 
ou deux ^pitres de Paul. Nous disons seulement qu'il n*a pas vu, 
dans ces lettres occasionelles, des ^critures divines que tons devaient 
reoueillir et encore moins des documents historiques qu'il importait de 
consulter." Some critics have gone so far as to hold that the writers 
of the Epistles were dependent rather on Acts ; but this opinion Van 
Manen decidedly rejects. 



78 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

the apostolic meeting to have been known to the 
writer of the other ; unless we suppose dependence on 
a common source.^ If the last supposition is thought 
improbable, then it is the writer of Acts who must 
have had the corresponding passage of Galatians in 
his eye. For, had the dependence been the other 
way, the writer of Galatians could not have failed to 
appeal to the concessions made to the heathen con- 
verts not only by Peter, but by James himself, who 
figures in Galatians as the most decided opponent of 
Paul. On the other hand, some of the details in 
Galatians would not at all have served the purpose of 
Luke with his endeavour towards reconciliation of the 
rival parties. Hence he would be inclined to omit 
them.* 

The Itinerary. 

In the second or Pauline part of Acts there are 
8ome pieces where the writer speaks in the first person 
plural — namely, xvi. 10-17 ; xx. 5-15 ; xxi. 1-18 ; 
xxvii. 1-xxviii. 16. These, although we shall find no 
reason against the view that they contain portions of 
a diary written by a fellow-traveller of Paul, cannot, 
as they stand, have formed part of such a diary. For 
this they are too much worked up into the historical 
form of the book, and show too many traces of modifi- 
cation in accordance with that form. Take the fourth 

' A possible common source would be the Acts of Paid, which, as 
we shall afterwards see, was one of the principal foundations of the 
canonical Acts. 

* Van Manen, we may observe here, does not altogether set aside 
the conclusions of his Tubingen predecessors as to the reconciling 
** tendency " of Acts. The reconciliation to be effected, however, was 
between the later groups which enrolled themselves under the names 
of Peter and Paul, not between the Apostles themselves. In his view, 
neither the account in Galatians nor in Acts is historical. 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 79 



of them, which includes the account of the shipwreck. 
Many circumstances indicate that in the earlier 
narrative Paul made his voyage from Gaesarea to 
Rome not as a prisoner, but with his friends as a free 
man. Those who accompanied him to Jerusalem 
(xxi. 16) — or, at least, a part of them — are still with 
him at Gsesarea when he sets out for Italy — namely, 
the companions spoken of as ''we," together with 
Aristarchus of Thessalonica, already mentioned as a 
travelling-companion (xxvii. 2, cf. xx. 4). This sug- 
gests a short stay at Gaesarea after the visit to 
Jerusalem, rather than a two years' imprisonment. 
Details are preserved as to Paul's treatment on board 
ship, which seem natural in the case of one who is 
making a voyage freely, but not in the case of a 
prisoner. The texture of the narrative shows discon- 
tinuities at the points when his bonds are spoken of. 
In xxvii. 3, for example, the reference to the centurion 
{(fiiXavOpdjTrtjjg re 6 ^lovXiog t(^ Ilav\(^ -xptitra/jLEVog 
iirirpeipev irpbg rovg ^^Xovc iropivOiim iirifiaXelag rvxeiv) 
breaks the connexion. The account of what took 
place on the island of Melite bears marks, even in the 
grammar — as is to be observed in xxviii. 2 — of the 
fusion of an original narrative with more or less 
legendary anecdotes. 

When the fragments are disentangled, they present 
themselves as a plain statement of the experiences of 
a single journey. No fragments from the same source 
can be detected in any passages but the four consti- 
tuting this " we-narrative," as it is called. The view 
of some critics that the author preserved the form 
because he wished to pass himself off as a travelling- 
companion of Paul must be rejected on the ground 
that, if that had been his aim, we should expect the 
first person plural to be used in all the accounts of 



80 THE ACTS OP THE APOSTLES 

Paul's journeys. Luke takes no pains to conceal 
from his readers that he is other than the '* we " of 
the passages in question. The very fact that he is a 
skilful writer goes to show that, if he had intended to 
convey the misleading impression that he was an 
eye-witness all through, he would have taken other 
means.^ 

The " we-narrative" does not supply us with a full 
account of Paul's activity. Its character is that of 
external note-taking ; and, even in its original form, 
it cannot have been a composition aiming at any sort 
of completeness. As far as it goes, however, there is 
no single reason for regarding it as other than the 
work of an eye-witness or as untrustworthy. 

Who the author was we can only guess. That he 
was a Jew by birth may be inferred from his use of 
the Jewish calendar (xx. 6, xxvii. 9). Such data as 
there are point to the Luke of Pauline tradition (2 Tim. 
iv. 11, Philem. 24, Col. iv. 14). This assignment 
of authorship would have the advantage of explaining 
how the whole of Acts, together with the third Gospel, 
came to be assigned to " Luke." 

1 This view attributes the literal incorporation of portions of a diary 
neither to want of skill — an explanation which, as Schmiedel points 
out {Ency. Bih.t "Acts of the Apostles'*), is inadmissible— nor to 
any deliberate purpose such as Schmiedel himself would assign. If 
the latter view were accepted, Luke could hardly escape the charge of 
being a fundamentally dishonest writer. Van Manen, too, remarks 
that he knows how to give the air of history to a composition from 
materials in great part not historical ; but the same thing might be 
said of Livy. Livy's purpose was patriotic and assthetio; that of 
Luke had much in common with later religious art. From the 
SBsthetic point of view, in the case of Luke we have to allow for the 
peculiar stratification characteristic of an Oriental literature. The 
Acts of the Apostles can, of course, no more be regarded as critical 
history than the first decade of Livy. A critical historian like 
Thucydides is unthinkable among the early Christians. 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 81 

To return to our Luke — the author of Acts. Whence 
did he get his other data about Paul which he com- 
bined with the diary ? It is necessary — as we shall 
soon find — to suppose that he drew on a narrative 
written before his own time, but after the time when 
the diary was written. Probably the diary was already 
incorporated with this narrative when he took it over; 
otherwise we should have to suppose that it had 
survived till then unused. From the narrative then 
extant or from tradition he got the datum about Paul's 
imprisonment. The original form of this story may be 
preserved in the assertion, first met with in Eusebius 
{H. E. ii. 22), that Paul was imprisoned a second 
time at Eome. In the earlier narrative, we may 
suppose, the apostle was arrested on some accusation 
relating to his activity in Bome itself, whither he had 
come as a free man; and the imprisonment that 
followed was the only one mentioned. Next, the 
arrest was transferred to Jerusalem, as in the narrative 
of Acts, which represents him as conveyed in bonds 
from Gsesarea to Bome. Then, finally, the account in 
Acts having in the meantime become authoritative, 
the single imprisonment at Bome was described as a 
second imprisonment. Of course, it does not follow 
that the earlier tradition itself is historical. 

Acts of Paul. 

Notwithstanding all resemblance in style and treat- 
ment, a difference at once strikes the reader between 
the so-called Petrine and Pauline parts of the book 
— that is to say, in general and exceptions allowed 
for, between chapters i.-xii. and xiii.-xxviii. The 
latter part is livelier, fresher ; it gives the impression 
of being less legendary and more true. The writer 

G 



82 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

seems to stand closer to the facts. The details confirm 
this impression, and point to one principal source 
used by Luke for this part of his work. That source, 
in accordance with the known titles of books of the 
kind, we may call the Acts of Paul (Ilt/o^oSoi or 
Upa^aig IlavXov). 

The use of the Acts of PavZ first becomes con- 
spicuous in the description of Paul's so-called *' first 
missionary journey " with Barnabas. In the original 
account, as is still evident (xiii. 2, 4), they were sent 
on their mission directly by the Holy Ghost. The 
statement that they were sent by the community 
(xiii. 3) is in obvious contradiction with what goes 
before and after. Paul (as in most places still) and 
not Barnabas (as in verses 1, 2, 7) was everywhere the 
chief person. He was called Paul from the first, and 
not at the beginning Saul (verses 1-9), and then, 
abruptly and without reason assigned, Paul. Bar- Jesus 
(xiii. 6-12) was originally neither a sorcerer nor a Jew, 
but a type of the pre-Pauline Christians, with their 
dread of the new " doctrine " preached by the men 
" full of the Holy Ghost." From the Acts of Paul 
Luke may have borrowed some expressions in the 
speech at the Pisidian Antioch (xiii. 16-41) : as, for 
example, that through Christ forgiveness of sins is 
proclaimed (88) ; that through him everyone that 
believes is justified (89). This was the "Pauline" 
gospel of ** faith " and " grace " (cf xiii. 48). 

Some things from the Pauline document have been 
taken up into the earlier chapters of Acts. This is 
probably the case with the mention of Barnabas 
(iv. 86-87), whose name originally belonged not to 
the community at Jerusalem, but to the circle of 
Paul at Antioch (cf xiii.-xv.). All the names of the 
seven appointed to " serve tables " (vi. 1-6) are Greek, 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 



and suggest that the deacons were non- Jews. It may 
be conjectored that in the earlier account they were 
neither appointed by the Twelve nor at Jerusalem. 
To suppose a preponderantly heathen-Christian com- 
munity already there is inconsistent with the repre- 
sentation in other parts of Acts (c/. xxi. 20). Luke 
may have derived the account from the Acts of Paul, 
where it had reference to events outside Palestine, 
and transferred it to Jerusalem. The same conjecture 
applies to the martyrdom of Stephen, accused of 
attributing to Jesus the purpose of changing the 
Mosaic law (vi. 14). The account of a violent effort 
to uproot Christianity, starting from Jerusalem, in 
which Saul-Paul played a leading part, has been 
transferred probably, but not certainly, from Damascus. 
There are passages in which not only the Apostles, 
but '' the brethren " also, are described as remaining 
in quiet at Jerusalem ; while the execution of James 
the brother of John is mentioned as an isolated event 
(xii. 2). And the passage in Galatians (i. 18-22) 
where Paul describes himself as having ^* persecuted 
the Church of God " assumes that he was resident at 
Damascus at the time of his conversion, and not at 
Jerusalem. Whether Luke found the persecution by 
Paul and his conversion already side by side in the 
Acts of Paid or brought them together must remain 
uncertain. 

Li the chapters containing the main body of the 
Acts of Paul the following points are to be noted. The 
account of the gathering at Jerusalem (xv. 1-83), as a 
whole and in the form in which we have it, cannot 
have come from that source. The Paul of ** Paulinism " 
is to be seen rather in passages where the opposition 
between his direction and that of the Judaisers among 
the chiefs is more pronounced. The declaration of 



84 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

Paul that he is a Boman citizen comes from Luke, 
with his desire to place Christianity in a favourable 
light before the Romans. This tendency was foreign 
to the Acts of PatU. The representation, also, that 
Paul went first to the Jews belongs to Luke's redac- 
tion. The converts he had read of in his source were 
especially Greeks, as at Beroea (xvii. 12). Luke pre- 
pares the way for turning the pre-Pauline Christians 
of Ephesus, to whom the Paul of the earlier document 
made known the Holy Ghost (xix. 1-7), into disciples 
of John the Baptist. To his hand is due the town 
clerk's apology for the Christians. He manipulates 
Paul's statement at Jerusalem (xxi. 89) that he is of 
Tarsus, '' no mean city," by making him insist at the 
same time that he is a Jew. This can be inferred 
from the peculiarity of the antithesis (lycu avOptoirog fdv 
elfu 'lovSaToc, Taptrevg, Trjg KiXiKtag ovk ao^/uov iroXscoc 
iroX^rijc), the force of which is "a Jew, though of 
Tarsus." Moreover, it is known from Epiphanius {Haer. 
XXX. 16) that certain Ebionites, probably in their own 
version of the Acts oj Paul, preserved the original 
reading {Tap(Teig ti/m, ovK a<rfifJLOv irrfXcwc iroXfnic), 
in which there is no mention of Paul's Jewish origin, 
and in which the reminder to the less-instructed reader 
where Tarsus is — ^namely, in Cilicia — does not occur. 
Luke's modification, effected by stages, in the events 
at Jerusalem as recounted in the Acts of Pavl, may 
be detected in the changing representation of his 
opponents, first as Judaising Christians among the 
" believers " there (xxi. 20), then as Jews from Asia 
(xxi. 27), lastly as "the Jews" in general together 
with the Sanhedrin. In the earlier story they would 
seem to have included anti-Pauline Christians. To 
escape the tumult raised by them, Paul was conducted 
to CaBsarea by the faithful " brethren," introduced too 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 85 

^arly by Luke (ix. 29-80). Thence he went to Borne 
as a free man. How the Acts of Paul ended we can 
only conjecture ; but it seems likely that an account 
was given of his imprisonment at Bome and his death 
there as a martyr, hinted at by Luke, but omitted in 
accordance with his apologetic aim in relation to the 
Boman government.^ 

An oncanonical book entitled Acts of Paul is 
referred to by Eusebios. Was this identical with the 
Acts of Paul mentioned by Origen ? And do both 
writers refer to the book used (perhaps in an earlier 
redaction) by Luke? It is not impossible; but we 
are not advanced by the supposition, since there is no 
material for judging of the contents of the book outside 
the canonicflJ Acts of the Apostles. According to the 
best judgment we can form, it presents itself as too 
full of legendary stories to have been written by a 
contemporary of Paul. The really contemporary 
record of the *^ we-narrative," as has been said, was 
probably worked up into it by the unknown author. 
The date of the Acts of Paul may be placed provision- 
ally not earlier than the end of the first century, 
before which time the outlines of the remodelled 
Christianity known as '' Faulinism " cannot be con- 
ceived to have fixed themselves. This, however, is 
somewhat to anticipate the result of discussion of the 
Epistles. The Pauline substratum in the Acts of the 
Apostles must be placed earlier than the earliest of 

^ In ihis reoonstraction Van ICanen shows himadf the troe oon- 
tinuator of the Tubingen schooL The Paul of ihe doeament here 
inferred to underlie the canonical Acts of the ApoetLsB is essentially 
ihe Paul of the Epistle to the (Hlatians, and probably could not haye 
been disoovered without the aid of that Epistle. The difFerenoe is 
that the pioneers, having penetrated beneath Luke's superstructure, 
naturally thought they had got down to the historical foundation ; 
later inyestigators find the substratum itself to be partly legendary. 



86 THE ACTS OP THE APOSTLES 

these. For, while the direction of thought that 
appears there has much in common with that of the 
Epistles, no use is made of them, and an epistolary 
activity of Paul is in no way alluded to.^ 

Acts of Peter. 

The particular document which forms the basis 
of the first twelve chapters of our canonical Acts 
may be called most conveniently the Acts of Peter 
{UeploSoi or npa^BtQ nirpov). It is a counterpart 
of the Acts of Paul, and was evidently written with 
the Paul of the older document as a model. For the 
hypothesis of independent origin, the parallelisms with 
the story of Paul are too numerous; and, this hypothesis 
being excluded, the exaggerations of the legendary 
and miraculous element in what is related of Peter 
show the narrative of which he is the hero to be 
secondary. Contrast, for example, the account of his 
deliverance from prison by an angel (xii. 8-19 ; cf v. 
17-42) with the account of Paul's deliverance at 
Philippi (xvi. 19-40). The latter leaves open the 
interpretation that it is the form assumed in tradition 
by some historical event ;* whereas the first is evidently 
nothing but a miracle-story. The possibility, and 

^ The slight use of the Epistles in Acts which seemed probable from 
the foregoing investigation was, of course, by Luke, the final 
redactor. 

^ Is it altogether fanciful to discover here a reminiscence of a real 
Panl who had not yet even been transformed into an " apostle of Jesus 
Christ,** but was simply a propagandist of (expectant) Messianio 
Judaism ? Observe the accusation : o9roi ol ApOpanrot iKTopacffovair 
^IxQv r^v irtyAV, 'lovBatw. inrdpxoyTts, Kcd KaraYY^^ovffiP iOrj A o^k 
i^€(mv ijfjup irapa94xe<r0cu oitSi iroieXv 'Tu^ois ot<nv (w. 20-21). 
The passage, it may be noted, follows on a section of the " we-narra> 
tive.** 



THE OBiaiN OF ACTS 87 

even the probability, that the writer made use here 
and there of traditions that had come to him from 
other sources, is not excluded ; but the way in which, 
always with the aim of glorifying Peter and his circle, 
he follows in the steps of his Pauline predecessor, 
makes it improbable that he had command of any rich 
independent Petrine tradition. His purpose was not 
historical in our sense of the word, but was to give 
Peter a concrete life and activity, and to write his Acts 
so as to make him comparable to Paul. 

Josephvs. 

That the author of the Acts of the Apostles made 
use of Josephus among his sources is shown by many 
details of the narrative. Perhaps the parallelism of 
the phenomena said to have accompanied the out- 
pouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost 
(ii. 1-4) with the portents described by Josephus as 
prophetic of the destruction of Jerusalem (B. J. 
vi. 5, 8)^ may be taken as evidence. There are, 
however, clearer traces than this and other such small 
coincidences. The mention of Theudas and of Judas 
the Galilsean in Gamaliel's speech (v. 36-87) is due 
evidently to an imperfect recollection of what the 
author had read in Josephus {Ant. xx. 5, 1 and 2) ; 
where the Theudas mentioned, and with him " the 

1 Another aocount of the prodigies in the Temple at the siege of 
Jerusalem, among which was a voice proclaiming the departure of 
**the gods" (exoedere deos), is to be found in Tacitus (HUt, v. 13): 
" quae pauoi in metum trahebant : pluribus persuasio inerat antiquls 
saoerdotum litteris contineri, eo ipso tempore fore ut valesoeret Oriens 
profectique Judaea rerum poterentur . * ' If the passage in Acts is rightly 
connected with the passage in Josephus, it might seem that the 
Christian author intended to symbolise in visible form the transference 
of the theocratic privileges and claims of the old hierarchy to the 
legendary founders of the new. 



88 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

sons of Judas the GalilaBan/' belong to a later time 
than that to which Luke assigns the events he makes 
Gamaliel describe. The " Egyptian " for whom Paul 
was taken at Jerusalem (xxi. 88) is the unnamed 
"prophet out of Egypt" whose expedition, with its 
defeat by Felix, is recorded by Josephus (Ant. xx. 
8, 6; B. J. ii. 18, 5). The word trtKapiot («icam), 
applied to his adherents, is found nowhere else in the 
New Testament ; it occurs often in Josephus — ^though 
not in the two passages referred to — and apparently 
in no other Greek author. Luke's " tendency " here 
is manifest. He seizes the opportunity of illustrating 
his implied thesis that any harsh treatment of a 
Christian by Romans must be due to some misunder- 
standing. Li making his Paul predict that God shall 
"smite" the high priest Ananias (xxiii. 3), he probably 
had in memory that the same high priest — whose 
slaves used to " smite" those who would not submit 
to his exactions {Ant. xx. 9, 2), as he commanded that 
Paul should be smitten (xxiii. 2) — had died a violent 
death {B. J. ii. 17, 3). The chief personages con- 
nected with Paul's imprisonment and trial — Felix and 
Drusilla, Festus, Agrippa and Berenice — are all taken 
from Josephus. Luke puts together a well-constructed 
narrative on the basis of their characters as depicted 
by the Jewish historian, but has no independent 
authentic tradition to work on. The narrative itself 
is an insertion by him in the Acts of Paul. The coin- 
cidence with Josephus in the introduction of Festus 
is even verbal {tXafiev ScaSoxov 6 ^riXiK UopKiov 
^?}<rrov, xxiv. 27 ; UopKtov Si ^ritrrov 8(aSoxou ^tjXcici, 
Ant. XX. 8, 9). The whole serves the purpose of 
showing how Christianity, while it was persecuted by 
the fanatical Jews, was protected by the Roman 
authorities. 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 



4. — General View of the Use of Sources. 

From an examination of the whole work, we see 
how the author now freely recasts the materials in his 
own manner, now holds himself bound by the words 
of his documents. A favourite mode of transition 
with him is the apparently exact but really indeter- 
minate — "And in those days " (vi. 1, xi. 27; cf. Luke 
i. 89, etc.), or "At that time" (xii. 1). At intervals he 
introduces his beloved refrain about the increase of 
the communities and the growth of the word (v. 14, 
xii. 24). Such an abrupt intrusion as that of " Saul," 
identified with Paul, into the account of the death of 
Stephen, strikes the eye at once. The establishment 
of a heathen Christian community at Antioch by Paul 
and Barnabas, taken over from the AcU of Pavl, is 
modified by the introduction of unknown "men of 
Cyprus and Cyrene " (xi. 19-26), of whom we hear no 
more. As the last verse shows, the founding of the 
community was originally ascribed to Paul and his 
associate, Barnabas. This illustrates the method of 
accommodation by which the Paul of the "Paulinists" 
had precursors given him in the preaching of the 
Gospel to the heathen. Paul's gathering of alms for 
the brethren at Jerusalem, which would seem to have 
been assigned in the Acts of Paul to a later date, is 
brought by Luke into connexion with what he had 
read in Josephus about a famine in the reign of 
Claudius (xi. 28 ; cf Ant. xx. 2, 6, and 5, 2). He 
describes the death of Herod with circumstances 
remembered from Josephus {Ant. xix. 8, 2). That he 
gives the name of Silas to the member of the Pauline 
circle called in the Epistles Silvanus, is explained by 
the fact that " Silas " is the only form of that proper 
name met with in Josephus. Silas and Barnabas are 



90 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

brought axbitrarily into connexion with the com- 
munity at Jerusalem; in the Pauline tradition^ 
preserved in other passages, they were connected with 
Antioch. The circumcision of Timothy by Paul 
(xvi. 1-8) counterbalances the non-circumcision of 
Titus (Gal. ii. 8-4), who — ^perhaps as too much identi- 
fied with the extreme Pauline school — ^is not mentioned 
in Acts. When the chief of the synagogue at Corinth 
is called Crispus (xviii. 8) instead of Sosthenes (xviii. 17),. 
this is probably due to a reminiscence of 1 Cor. i. 14. 

5. — The Author's Aim. 

Various intentions have been ascribed to Luke's 
work ; each of them in a manner correctly, so long as- 
none is held to furnish by itself a complete expla- 
nation. He did not need to begin the reconciliation 
of the Petrinists and the Paulinists, since others,, 
notably the author of the Acts of Peter, had preceded 
him in this ; but he consciously manipulates his data 
in the same direction. The approximation, as haa 
already been pointed out, is from both sides. Peter 
from the beginning recognises that the Gospel, though 
first offered to the Jews, is for all who shall be called 
(ii. 89). Paul is obedient both to the Law and to the 
other Apostles, and makes it his custom to preach 
first to the Jews, only afterwards turning to the 
Gentiles. Yet it would be an error to describe such 
reconciliation as Luke's predominant aim. Even the 
apologetic aim with regard to the Roman authorities,, 
though this belongs peculiarly to his redaction and 
not to any of his sources, must not be described as the 
purpose of the whole. What he does by his way of 
presenting the relations of Jews and Christians and 
Romans is tacitly to invite the Romans to continue the 



THE ORIGIN OF ACTS 91 

protective attitude towards Christianity which, accord- 
ing to the story, they had taken up at first. He 
combines this, however, with other purposes ; such as 
that of drawing clearly the line between Judaism and 
Christianity, smoothing over the existing differences 
among Christians, and so forth. And in the end ii 
would be unjust not to recognise that his essential 
purpose is correctly described by himself at the open* 
ing of the third Gospel, of which the book of Acts,, 
according to his own statement, is a continuation. 
What he primarily had in view was to give more exact 
instruction to Christian converts as to the events on 
which their faith was founded. His purpose was to 
write history in a sense — "sacred history," if you like. 

6. — ^His Personality. 

He was evidently not a Jew, but rather a Greek or 
a Greek-speaking Roman. " The Jews " always 
present themselves as men with whom he has nothing 
in common. His general tolerance and his sympa- 
thetic attitude towards Christians on all sides do not 
extend to them.^ Penetrated with the "Catholic" 
thought of the unity between Peter and Paul, he puts 
texts side by side to which the opposite parties can 
appeal — ^yes and no on the same page. These, by 
their juxtaposition, are to serve as a sign that the old 
differences have become antiquated. For the leaders 
especially they never existed. Among Christians all 
was — that is, it ought to have been — harmony from 
the first. 

Where was the book written ? For Alexandria, as 

^ This is, of course, not inconsistent with his adoption of the point 
of yiew that made the Christian apostolate inherit the rights of the 
rejected Jewish hierarchy. Bather it is a necessary consequence of it.. 



•92 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

also for any place in Greece, there is little to be said. 
One living in a Hellenic environment would hardly 
have spoken as Lake does of the way in which the 
Athenians spent their time (xvii. 21), and would have 
known that at Athens there were altars '' to unknown 
gods " (ayvwoToiQ Oeotg), but not " to the unknown 
<jod" {ayvwari^ Oeti^. The quantity of traditional 
material from Asia Minor gives ground for inference 
^regarding the Acts of Pavl rather than the final 
redaction. For the place of origin of this, most 
circumstances point to Bome. The writer inserts 
information about the place or people in referring to 
Jerusalem (i. 12, xxiii. 8), Macedonia (xvi. 12), Athens 
<xvii. 21), and Crete (xxvii. 8, 12, 16), but not in 
referring to places in Italy. There it is as if he was 
on familiar ground (compare xxviii. 12, 18, 15).* 
Latinisms occur, as for example at the very beginning 
iirpiUfTov instead of vpoTepov, 1 1). Above all, Bome 
was the special seat of the rising Catholicism ; and 
it is not to the pagan State and its citizens generally 
that Luke directs his apologetics, but definitely to 
the Romans.^ 

There are many indications that the. book was 
composed a considerable time after the age of the 
Apostles. That it was written after the year 70 is 
<5ertain ; the destruction of Jerusalem being pre- 
supposed in the author's first book (Luke xxi. 20-24) : 
and there are marks of a much later origin. The 



^ Express topographical information in the **we-narrative " is 
naturally ascribed to the redactor and not to the diarist. 

^ The fact, however, that Bome was the seat of government, and 
that the highest civic authorities everywhere were Roman officials, 
might explain this in any case. And was not the Catholic idea aft 
Home part of the flowing of the Orontes into the Tiber spoken of by 
the Boman satirist ? 



PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS 9^ 

writer knows of discord that has arisen in the com- 
manity at Ephesas after the departure of Paul 
(xx. 29). The Christian community (Church) has. 
long been established ; it has its official elders 
(presbyters). Christianity, while fully conscious of 
its internal continuity with the ancient Israel, has 
broken with ''the Jews/' and sees itself obliged to* 
appeal to the men in authority among the heathen. 
The time has arrived when it has to make good ita 
right to exist as an independent religion. Altogether,, 
the canonical Acts of the Apostles cannot be assigned 
to an earlier date than about 125. The time of ita 
composition may most reasonably be placed between^ 
125 and 150. 

Section IL 

PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS 

In the canonical Acts we find three Pauls : Paul as. 
represented by Luke ; the Paul of the Acts of Paul ; 
and the Paul of the Itinerary. 

' The Representation of Luke. 

The inconsequences of Luke's account have already 
in part appeared from the analysis. His Paul is a>. 
Jew» and at the same time a Roman citizen by birth. 
He is of Tarsus, but was brought up from his youth 
at Jerusalem. He is a tentmaker, yet has the leisure 
to come forward and take a leading part in persecuting 
Christianity. That he was a teacher in Israel, and 
had learned a handicraft only in that capacity, Luke- 
does not tell us. We are not told why he is called 
Saul as well as Paul ; why Barnabas idone, after his 
conversion, was not afraid of him (ix. 26-27) ; why he« 



94 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

in particular should have incurred the hostility of the 
Hellenists (ix. 29). So the account proceeds, without 
clearness as to the precise causal connexion, till his 
last visit to Jerusalem. Here he is well received by 
•** the brethren," yet seems to be personally unknown 
to almost everyone, in spite of his repeated visits and 
of his having been educated there. Though he 
behaves as a pious Jew, his appearance in the Temple 
^excites a furious riot. We hear nothing more of any 
interest taken in him by those who had received him. 
While he is represented as quite at one with the 
members of the Christian community at Jerusalem, 
And while they apparently enjoy complete toleration, 
the charge of the Jews that he is the enemy of his 
people and of its law is so constantly presupposed 
that at Eome (xxviii. 17) he enters upon an apology 
in advance to those who have never heard of the 
accusation. 

Thus, beneath its well-ordered literary clothing, 
Luke's life of Paul reveals its unhistorical character in 
detail. It is full of '' signs and wonders," and the 
Accounts of some of these are inconsistent, as, for 
-example, that of Paul's conversion. In ix. 7 the 
bystanders hear the voice, but see no man ; in xxii. 9 
they see the light, but hear not the voice. The story 
of the Apostle's arrest at Jerusalem and of his 
imprisonment at GaBsarea loses all its air of truth on 
analysis. To take one detail, Felix, who is said to 
have hoped for a bribe from Paul to set him free, 
might have known that he had no means. But in 
reality Felix, Drusilla, Festus, Agrippa, and Berenice 
owe their presence in Luke's narrative entirely to his 
acquaintance with the works of Josephus; on the 
strength of which he could judge himself safe in 
Attributing to Felix accessibility to bribes. His 



PAUL AGCOBDIKa TO ACTS 95 

weakness in chronology would betray this if it were not 
otherwise evident. Festns, as may be inferred by com- 
bining the statements of Josephns (Ant xx. 8, 9) and 
of Tacitus (Ann. xiv. 65, xiii. 14), entered on his pro- 
curatorship in succession to Felix not later than 56. 
For Felix was saved from punishment by his brother 
Pallas, the court-favourite, when the Jews brought 
complaints against him on his return. And Pallas, 
who died in 62, had already been removed from Court 
by Nero in 56. Time then being allowed for Paul's 
journey to Bome and for his two years' preaching 
there, his martyrdom — ^presupposed by Luke — would 
have to be placed in 59. This, however, is incon- 
sistent with the tradition he follows, which places it 
near the time of the fire at Bome in 64. Thus, Luke's 
data, contradictory as they show themselves, oblige us 
to seek some other ground than that of authentic 
record for their actual combination in his narrative. 

As has been made plain, he did not aim at writing 
history in our sense. The accounts of Paul that were 
in his hands had to be modified for edification. The 
chief document on which he worked, manipulating it 
in his " Catholic " sense, was the Acts of Paid. To 
this we must turn for further light — so far as the 
distinctive character of Paul set forth in it can still be 
determined. 

The Acts of Paul. 

Here the Apostle presents himself as a younger 
contemporary of the first disciples, not as a member 
of their circle. In a little time these are only repre- 
sented by an occasional survivor like Mnason {apxatoc 
fAadriTTiCy xxi. 16). Christianity has spread abroad. 
ApoUos of Alexandria has already preached at Ephesus 



96 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

'' the things concerning Jesus " (xviii. 25). Paul is a 
citizen of Tarsus, and in the beginning attached to 
Judaism either by birth or as a proselyte ; the writer 
does not say which. He is a tentmaker by occupation 
(xviii. 8). At first hostile to the new sect, he is after- 
wards converted by a vision of Jesus, and is sent to 
the heathen directly by the Lord. He is immediately 
filled with the Holy Ghost (ix. 17), and remains 
always under its guidance. He makes all his plans in 
accordance with the inspirations and visions granted 
him. He has the power of imparting the Spirit to 
others by laying on of hands. Its possession is the 
mark of his converts. He works not among the Jews, 
but among the "nations." To their joy he is their 
Apostle (xiii. 47-48). The older disciples of Jesus can 
receive more accurate instruction from him and his 
disciples ; as, for example, ApoUos from Aquila and 
Priscilla (xviii. 26). It is he and those of his direction 
who are first called " Christians " at Antioch (xi. 26). 
With the ''disciples" of the older direction he some- 
times comes into hostile contact. Elymas, the *' son 
of Jesus," tries to turn away the hearers of Paul 
"from the faith" (airo Trig irlar^wgy xiii. 8). The 
movement against him at Jerusalem begins with the 
believers " zealous of the law " (xxi. 20). Originally 
it was, perhaps, carried forward by them and not by 
" the Jews," on whose broad shoulders Luke seeks to 
discharge the responsibility. It may have been from 
them also that the " brethren " whom Paul had 
succeeded in winning to his doctrine rescued him and 
placed him in safety at Gaesarea ; but it is no longer 
possible to make out how often " disciples " of the old 
type, " sons of Jesus," are hidden behind the mask of 
Luke's " Jews " hostile to Paul and his preaching. 
The new '' doctrine " which Paul preaches is the 



PAUL AGCOBDING TO ACTS 97 

fruit of a revelation granted to him in visions. It is 
distinguished from that of the old disciples by seeing 
in Jesus not so much the Messiah promised to Israel 
as the " Son of God " (ix. 20). He is still called "the 
Christ" (6 'xp^aT6g, the Greek translation of the 
Hebrew name) or simply ** Christ " (now become a 
proper name), but is thought of under that name as a 
supernatural being. Christ, or the Son of God, is one 
with the Jesus manifested for a short time on earth 
and now living in heaven. Precisely how Paul con- 
ceived of this unity of Christ and Jesus as coming to 
be, we are not told. The problem of " Christology " 
was left for the future. Jesus himself in the mean- 
time recedes into the background. The essential thing 
is to believe in Christ and to persevere in " the faith" 
(xiv. 22). In him there is given a new revelation of 
God, the hitherto unknown. Jews and heathens, 
also the mere ''sons of Jesus," stand outside and 
dwell in darkness, are '' in the power of Satan " 
(xxvi. 18), " sons of the devil" (xiii. 10); but can now 
come to a knowledge of light, of the highest God, and 
of his true being. For the new revelation is for " all 
men everywhere " (xvii. 80). The law is done away 
with. There is forgiveness of sins through faith in 
Christ. Faith comes " by grace." Grace is communi- 
cated by the instrumentality of the " chosen vessel " 
((TKBvog licXoY^Cy i^* 1^)} on whose preaching as many 
as are ordained to eternal life believe (xiii. 48). 

This presentation of Paul, too, in spite of its greater 
verisimilitude, is one that cannot be held for historical 
as a whole. The Apostle is not quite a man of flesh 
and blood, but has much of the hero of romance, the 
idealised personality. Many of the stories about him 
bear an obviously legendary character, of the same 
kind, though not so strongly coloured, as that of 



THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 



the later apocryphal lives of saints. Then the 
content of his doctrine offers a difficulty. Can the 
development of speculation on the unity of Jesus with 
a supernatural being, a " Christ the Son of God," 
have gone so far at a time no later than that even 
here assigned to Paul ? There is the paradox that a 
Jew or a Greek proselyte to Judaism, who has not 
been a follower of the new " way,'* but a persecutor of 
its adherents, should no sooner see his error than he 
comes forth as a reformer of their ideas ; preaching a 
system which, whatever else may be thought of it, 
bears witness to a deep religious life and long and 
serious reflection. The Paul of this narrative is 
among the first preachers of Christianity outside of 
Palestine ; yet in every country where he arrives — in 
Syria, in Asia Minor, in Greece, in Italy — he meets 
with " disciples," and even " brethren." For this 
stage to be reached, and for the '^ new doctrine " to 
supervene, more time seems necessary than is 
allowed when he is supposed to be a contemporary of 
the earliest disciples, even if a younger contemporary. 
An actual Paul may have given the starting-point for 
the development, and some facts relating to him may 
have been preserved ; but he was not himself the 
creator of the Pauline '' gospel of grace," the spiritual 
father of the '* Christians " of Antioch. Such a union 
of incompatibles as the hero of the Acts of Paid can 
never have lived and worked. In this shape he may 
be conceived as the glorified figure-head of a party 
which attaches its ideas to him in order to commend 
them in his name : a figure drawn from life he is 
not 

Are we in a position to discover any actuality at all 
behind this semblance ? 



PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS W 

The Itinerary. 

To this question the diary of a fellow-traveller of 
the Apostle gives some answer, but unfortunately not 
a very circumstantial one ; for it only relates the 
events of a single journey. The real Paul, we may 
infer, was a travelling preacher. He was a younger 
contemporary of the other Apostles, and his views did 
not differ materially from theirs. To judge from the 
use of the Jewish calendar in the diary (xx. 6, xxvii. 9) 
— ^a use which the hero of the Acts of Paul would 
probably not have made — his circle had not yet 
broken with Judaism. We may conjecture that he 
was originally a tentmaker of Tarsus, a Jew or a 
proselyte to Judaism ; that, having at first persecuted 
the " disciples " or "sons of Jesus," he was gained 
for their cause and devoted himself heart and soul to 
propagating it ; that he was one of the first to make 
their views known outside of Palestine among Jews 
and heathens; and that this intercourse with the 
people of various lands detached him from the law. 
We may perhaps go a step further, and try to fill in 
the outline from the missionary journeys and experi- 
ences attributed to him in the Acts of Paul. Perhaps 
we are justified in concluding that he seldom or never 
came in contact with the disciples in Palestine ; that 
he remained practically unknown to the brethren at 
Jerusalem ; that, on his arrival there at last, he 
nearly fell a victim to his real or imagined want 
of respect for the Temple. AH this, however, 
is uncertain. We must guard against taking 
for granted the truth of whatever in the Acts of 
Paul is not manifestly fictitious. At the same time, 
the diary itself — or rather, the fragmentary portion 
of it which can still be detected beneath the double 



100 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

redaction — ^presents nothing whatever that is untrust- 
worthy. For regarding the Paul of the Itinerary as a 
fictitious personage there is no single reason. That a 
real person should in the course of years be trans- 
formed into a hero of romance is a perfectly familiar 
historical phenomenon. 

Conclusion. 

Thus, viewing the Acts of the Apostles for the 
present without reference to the Epistles, we find that 
only the oldest of the three representations of Paul 
which they contain brings us near the historical 
reality. Here he presents himself as one '^disciple" 
along with others. There is no question as yet of 
" Christians," or of a break with Judaism. The days 
of the " Holy Spirit" have not yet dawned. No one 
knows that Spirit, or fancies himself led by it. What- 
ever else they may be, the " disciples," both in their 
own estimation and in the judgment of others, are Jews 
(and remain so), either by birth or by having become 
proselytes. They simply form a direction, a sect, 
among the Jews, not apart from them. The centre of 
their distinctive convictions is Jesus, whose sons or 
disciples they esteem themselves to be, and in whom 
they recognise the Messiah promised to their fore- 
fathers. To remind one another of '^ the things 
concerning Jesus," and to declare them to the rest of 
the world — that is what distinguishes them from the 
other Jews, and is with them the motive to a pure life 
and mutual love. To this band of brothers Paul 
joins himself. In the service of their ideas he travels 
through various lands with varying success. We do 
not find either that he wrote letters of any importance, 
or that any divergence about belief or conduct arose 



PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS 101 

between him and the other disciples. The late writer 
whom we call Luke, knows indeed of discords that 
have arisen ; but it is significant that in the predic- 
tion of them which he puts into the mouth of the 
Apostle (xx. 29-80) he makes them arise after his 
departure. 

A generation — perhaps more — having passed away, 
a tendency manifests itself outside of Palestine, 
particularly at Antioch in Syria, to break loose from 
Judaism. This would be the natural consequence of 
the accession of heathen proselytes and of intercourse 
with the GrsBco-Roman world at large. Accordingly, 
a new direction appears. The Gospel of the Son of 
God, of " grace," of "faith," is born. The knowledge 
that Jesus is no other than the Son of God, the 
Christ, is ascribed to a special revelation, to a com- 
munication of the Holy Spirit. The " disciples," 
from a sect of Jews, have become " Christians." 
Those who follow this direction connect it with the 
name of Paul. Having made him their hero, they 
proceed to write his life. Yet they can take over 
almost nothing from that life as it really was, because 
a grander image of the Apostle is before their eyes. 
Besides, " Paulinism," though it has to be attributed 
to Paul, is really new, and did not belong to the man 
himself. Hence the indistinctness in the image of 
this Paul according to the Paulinists. We have in 
this indistinctness one evidence that Paulinism was 
born after Paul's time. That it immediately won 
approval we can see ; but also that it provoked strong 
opposition among the old disciples. It is remarkable 
enough that there is absolutely no hint of any letters 
written by this Pauline Paul. 

Years again pass by. The strife between the old 
and the new, in the judgment of influential men, has 



102 THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 

lost its interest. Peter, the hero of the " disciples " 
as Paul was of the "Christians," has been made the sub- 
ject of Acta on the model of the Acts of Paxd. Finally, 
Luke girds himself up to the task of complete reconcilia- 
tion, brings the two lives together, and modifies the 
traditional features of each Apostle into approximation 
to those of his colleague. He is probably acquainted 
with Pauline Epistles; but he does not name them, 
and he makes sparing use of them. His Paul bears a 
character other than that of the Epistles, and of those 
Acts which he diligently used as the basis of his own 
narrative. Through this process of adaptation, Paul, 
next to Peter, can become the founder of the "Catholic 
Church." Thus, for those who acquiesce in the com- 
posite image presented in the Acts of the Apostles, 
adolescent Christianity has lost the true sense of its 
development. What it is, or ought to be now, that it 
has always been — in essentials unalterable, one and 
the same faith for all right-thinking confessors, and 
especially for the men of name, after whom parties 
have wrongly called themselves. 

The sense of development having been recovered, 
two views founded on the two ideal representations of 
Paul must be dismissed as untenable. The old 
Catholic view corresponds to the imaginary portrait 
painted by Luke ; the view of the Tubingen school to the 
only less imaginary one of the Acts of Paxd. No assured 
reality is left but the Paul of the Itinerary. There 
was, in historical fact, no quarrel between Peter and 
Paul, but only between the "Petrine " and "Pauline " 
partisans who arose after them. On the other hand, 
neither Apostle taught the principles of Gentile 
"Christianity": both alike taught simply those of 
the disciples or " sons of Jesus." The apple of 
discord thrown into the world by Paulinism was the 



PAUL ACCORDING TO ACTS 103 

result of an advance made after the death of the 
Apostle. 

Or is there some flaw in the argument? Do the 
Epistles forbid us to reject the portrait in the Acts of 
Pavi, along with that of Luke, as unhistorical ? The 
answer to this question must be sought in an investi- 
gation of the Pauline Epistles. 



Part II. 

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

Fob ages the fourteen Epistles attributed to St. Paul 
in the New Testament were all undoubtingly accepted 
as proceeding from the Apostle of the Gentiles. The 
leaders of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, 
however, were so far critical as to contest the Epistle 
to the Hebrews ; and the doubt as to its genuineness 
has never since been suppressed. From the latter 
part of the eighteenth century more and more inroads 
have been made on the Epistles still accepted as 
genuine. By the Tubingen school these were reduced 
to four — namely, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and 
Galatians.^ In these, also, interpolations were admitted 
by their defenders, and by degrees it came to be seen 
that, under the application of the tests which had been 
fatal to the rest, even the Epistles " universally 
received " could not hold together as a whole. So 
the process of demolition went on ; until, before the 
end of the nineteenth century, the time could be seen 
fast approaching when, of the once imposing edifice, 
not one stone should be left on another. 

1 The rejected Epistles, of course, have all along found defenders. 
Van Manen himself, as he mentions, argued for the genuineness of 
the first Epistle to the Thessalonians in a doctoral thesis published 
in 1865, though he rejected the second. In sympathy with Baur's 
critical views, and always recognising his own intellectual debt to th« 
founder of the Tiibingen school, he yet could not help being struck 
with the arbitrariness of his division between genuine and spurious 
Epistles. The prolonged search for a more satisfactory criterion at 
length showed the absence of a solid basis anywhere. 

104 



THE NATURE OF THE WORK 105 

In justifying the conclusion arrived at, the appeal 
is to those who are willing to examine the Epistles 
without traditional assumptions, whether those of the 
Church or of " the science of our days/' Taking first 
the Epistle to the Romans, we place ourselves before 
it in complete freedom and ask, What is it, and 
whence ? Our aim is simply to know the truth as 
regards Christian antiquity. 

1. — The Nature of the Work. 

We speak of the " Epistle " to the Romans ; but is 
the composition properly an Epistle? Undoubtedly 
it presents itself under the external form of a letter. 
This, however, is mere appearance, as even the 
opening verses make plain. The disquisition contained 
in i. 2-6 betrays the author of a dogmatic treatise 
who wishes to dispose as summarily as possible of a 
number of disputed points the discussion of which is 
current in certain circles. Even apart from this, the 
address is far from clear. Comparison of the text i. 7 
(ttcktiv toTc o5(T«vlv'Pa>/ip, ayairriroXg 9eov, icX?jroTc ayioig) 
with other passages {cf. xii. 3), and with a usage 
known to ecclesiastical writers, shows that the words 
roTc ovmv mean " those that really are '* — that is, do 
not merely seem to be — Christians. What is indicated 
is a spiritual circle of hearers, not a local community; 
and indeed there are specific reasons for holding the 
mention of Rome in this place, as also in i. 15, to be 
interpolated.^ Generalised rhetorical forms again, 
such as occur in many places {cf. ii. 1, 3, 17, ix. 20, 
xi. 13, xii. 3, xiv. 4, 10, 15), point to the great public, 

^ This does not imply any doubt as to the intention of the redactor 
or redactors to make the whole composition pass for a letter from the 
Apostle Paul to the Bomans. 



106 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

and not to a limited circle of determinate persons, as 
the audience addressed. However patient we may be 
in the matter of salutations, it is difficult to find truth 
and not fiction in the words, '* AU the Churches of 
Christ salute you" (cKnraZovTai vfiaq ai eKtckiialai Tratrai 
rov XpioTov, xvi. 16). The contents generally are those 
of a book rather than of a letter. Neither the doctrinal 
nor the hortatory discourses which succeed one 
another seem more adapted to the needs of the Chris- 
tians at Rome than anywhere else. Viewing the work 
as an Epistle, we try in vain to form any idea of the 
relation between the writer and his readers. No light 
is thrown on this relation either by the Acts of the 
Apostles or by tradition. According to tradition, 
Peter and Paul were the founders of the community 
at Rome ; whereas it follows quite clearly from the 
Epistle that the Christians addressed were such before 
the writer had ever seen them face to face. 

We get no more light from the details, which indeed 
frequently give contradictory impressions. The faith 
of the Roman Christians is spoken of throughout the 
whole world (i. 8) ; so that the Apostle can put it on 
a level with his own (i. 12) : and yet he speaks of 
himself as striving to preach the Gospel not where 
Christ was named, lest he should build upon another 
man's foundation (xv. 20). No explanation has suc- 
ceeded in making it comprehensible why Paul should 
address such a '* letter " to Christians personally 
unknown to him at Rome. In no traditional record 
do we come upon a trace of any impression, favourable 
or unfavourable, made by it among those to whom it 
is supposed to have been addressed. And yet it was 
not the kind of letter to be simply received, read, and 
laid aside. So various are the contents that grounds 
can be assigned with equal show of reason for holding 



THE UNITY OF THE BOOK 107 

that the community at Home consisted of Jewish 
Christians, of heathen Christians, and of a mixture of 
both. Sometimes, indeed, the work seems to be 
meant even for Jews and heathens who are outside 
Christianity. The result of the whole examination is 
that — whoever wrote it — we have before us, not an 
epistle in the proper sense of the term, but a book, a 
treatise in epistolary form. 

2. — The Unity of the Book. 

Whatever conclusions may be arrived at as to the 
way in which it was composed, the relative unity of 
the book in its traditional form must be recognised. 
That there should be slight additions or interpolations 
is a matter of course in a book coming down from 
antiquity that has been much read, and has passed 
through the hands of many copyists. The cases 
of this kind that occur and are recognised by 
textual critics do not in the least affect the general 
view we must take. None of the pieces that make up 
the composition can be removed without injury to the 
whole. If we suppose it to end, as has often been 
fancied, at xiv. 23, we feel that there is no proper close. 

In content as well as in form it is a whole as it 
stands. With a little goodwill we may find in it 
what might appear to the writer a coherent develop- 
ment of the Pauline doctrine, and an ordered reply to 
the objections urged against it. The minor disquisi- 
tions fit into the scheme as a whole. A conclusion 
such as we have was an essential part of it. The 
traditional text is accordingly no product of an acci- 
dental conjoining of scattered pieces. There is identity 
of style, as may be seen by comparison with the 
Epistle of James or of Clemens Bomanus or with one 



108 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

of the Johannine Epistles. Thas, most even of the 
critics who propose to divide it have been obliged to 
recognise the '^ Pauline" origin of the separated parts, 
and not merely of that which they regard as the 
original Epistle addressed to the Romans. 

This insistence on the unity of the work had to be 
placed in the foreground to guard against misunder- 
standing of what follows. 

3. — Its Composition. 

For the unity insisted on is, it must be repeated, 
a relative unity. It reminds one of the unity of a 
Synoptic Gospel or of the Acts of the Apostles. The 
writer has not freely and logically developed his own 
thought, but has roughly sketched out a plan with a 
view to the incorporation of older writings which he 
had before him. Into this plan he has fitted his 
materials, modifying and adapting them, but not 
effacing the signs of their previous separate existence. 
Hence the discrepant judgments that have been 
passed by critics according as they have been struck 
by the identity of the hand that put together the 
whole work or by the difference of character in the 
parts. There are sutures that make its dependence 
on written sources visible to the attentive reader. 

A, — Traces of Juncture and Manipulation. 

To discover these, let us examine the parts of the 
Epistle successively as they present themselves accord- 
ing to a natural division. 

The Address : i. 1-7. 

Verses 2-6 break the continuity between verses 
1 and 7. Their doctrinal intention is plain : (1) 



ITS COMPOSITION 109 



Stress had to be laid on the prefiguring of Paul's 
Oospel in the prophetic parts of the Old Testament 
(verse 2). The fact that the Catholics who affirmed 
the connexion with the Old Testament and the 
Marcionites who dwelt on the break with it alike 
appealed to the authority of Paul, shows the probable 
absence in the older Paulinism of any definite pro- 
nouncement on the point. (2) The affirmation that 
the Son of God is a descendant of David according to 
the flesh (verse 3) proceeds from the effort to reconcile 
the old Pauline with the Messianic idea. Character- 
istic passages in the Epistle show absence of all 
preoccupation with the manner in which the Son of 
God was made flesh. A very close analysis of expres- 
sions such as that of viii.3 {ivojULOitJfiaTi (rapKogafiaprtag) 
would lead to the notion that the body of Christ was 
merely apparent. From a point of view like this, 
descent from David could be of no importance. (3) 
The intention of verse 4, in spite of some unintel- 
legible words (Iv Swafisi Kara irvevfia ayiwcrvvrig) in the 
text as it stands, evidently is to assert that Jesus 
became the Son of God by rising from the dead. 
This conception, that he became or was made the 
Son of God, was not unknown in the old Christian 
world (c/. Acts ii. 36, xxvi. 23), but finds no place in 
the thought of the writer, for whom the Son of God 
was a pre-existent being (Bom. viii. 3, 32) sent to 
manifest himself on earth before he died and in his 
death (v. 6, 8, 10). (4) The same verse, in affirming 
the identity of the Pauline " Son of God " with ** Jesus 
Christ, our Lord," illustrates the process of fusion by 
which the favourite expressions of the Paulinists and 
of the old disciples of Jesus were combined. The 
variation, again, between " Christ Jesus" and ** Jesus 
Christ " (compare verses 1 and 4) is not arbitrary. 



110 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

The first belongs distinctively to Paulinisin,^ for 
which Christ, as a supernatural being, is prior ; the 
second is a formula of reconciliation enabling the 
older disciples to adopt the new ideas. Comparison 
of variants in the texts where the two types of expres- 
sion occur shows that the predominant tendency was 
to change from the former to the latter. (5) The 
intention of verse 5 is to combat the mistaken imagi- 
nation that Paul attained the apostleship in an 
illegitimate way — ^that is, not as called by Jesus. The 
plural (eXajSofccv), however, contrasting as it does 
with the singular which is retained in verses 1 and 
8-16, shows that the writer was thinking not of Paul 
alone, but of Paul and those of his direction, and 
betrays the hand of the redactor. (6) The particular 
intention of verse 6 is to convey the idea that the 
original readers of the Epistle were heathen Christians 
brought to the Gospel by Paul. The redactor is 
aiming at a wider public, consisting of all kinds of 
believers, not simply of the few who have reached a 
spiritual height, to whom, as verse 7 (with its expres- 
sion, wamv Toig ovmv) shows, the original form of the 
Epistle was addressed. 

Introduction : i. 8-17. 

Here we find a complication of inconsistent reasons 
for desiring to come and see those who are addressed 
at Rome. This again points to the hand of the 
redactor, as does also the glaring want of sequence 
towards the conclusion of the passage. The whole, 
however, is not to be held for the work of the redactor 
himself, but rather for an attempt to combine pre- 
existent ideas current in different surroundings. (1) 

^ And this is fthe older reading in i. 1. 



ITS COMPOSITION 111 



Paul desired to visit the Bomans in order to give them 
some spiritual gift and for mutual confirmation in the 
faith (verses 9-12). (2) He was constantly making 
plans that he might have fruit of his missionary 
activity among the brethren at Rome as elsewhere 
(verse 18). (8) Though he had no reasons connected 
with the particular community at Rome, still he wished 
to come because he felt himself a debtor to all men 
(verse 14). 

First PaH: i. 18-viii. 89. 

When we enter upon the attempted demonstration 
of the power of the Gospel for the salvation of all 
believers, whether Jews or Greeks, we find too many 
incompatible positions to leave open the possibility 
that the whole proceeded from the same author, deve- 
loping his own thought without reference to sources. 
In detail, the characteristic procedure is the mechanical 
linking of sentences by means of particles that should 
denote logical transition. This is intelligible on the sup- 
position that the whole is composite, but not otherwise.^ 

^ To this line of argument the following objection might most 
plausibly be taken. It does not seem a priori impossible, one might 
say, that the original author of the Epistle to the Bomans was an 
intermittently powerful religious thinker driven by fervid emotion to 
the alternate expression of positions logically irreconcilable. The 
inconceivable complexity of such antitheses of doctrine led Julian to 
describe Paul as the prince of charlatans (t6v it 'vras iravToxoO rods 
irdnrorre y&rfras xal iirareCiyas vTrep^aWdfACPOP IlavXov)^ but not to 
deny his authorship of the writings attributed to him. This 
purely general defence, however, loses its force when an attempt 
is made to apply it to the particulars. The arbitrary and inconsequent 
use of the particle ydpy for example, does not seem adequately 
explained by the favourite resource of modern Protestant philo- 
sophical Paolinists — namely, the Apostle's supposed training under the 
unfortunate Babbis. Van Manen's hypothesis of the use of sources 
really explains this peculiarity in the work of a " Greek-speaking and 
Greek-thinking writer," such as the author or redactor of the Epistle 



112 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

Among the more prominent antitheses the following 
may be noted. 

The God who will render to every man according 
to his works (8c aTroS(o<7ei cicao7Ci» Kara ra ipya avrov, 
ii. 6) is not precisely the God of the Paulinism 
taught elsewhere in the section. The writer who 
says that the doers of the law shall be justified 
(ii. 13) is other than the writer who says that by 
the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified 
(iii. 20). Again, the verses iii. 25-26 express a 
different idea from that which is indicated in iii. 24 
and other passages, taken in conjunction with viii. 20. 
In the former, the Son of God is offered as a pro- 
pitiation by God to himself to satisfy the demands of 
his own justice. In the latter, he is the price of 
man's redemption paid to a power standing over 
against God. (Note the words 8m rov vwoTa^avra in 
viii. 20, and compare with Gal. iii. 13, iv. 5 ; 1 Cor. 
ii. 8, V. 5, viii. 5, x. 20-21.) The first-named passage 
proceeds from a more Jewish-minded Paulinist ; in 
the second we detect a Gnostic thought. According 
to passages of the latter type, the justification on 
God's part is gratuitous (8ai/ocav, iii. 24). Further, 
in the comparison between Adam and Christ (v. 12-19), 
the coming of death into the world is ascribed alter- 
nately to the sin of one man (12a, 13-14) and to the 
sin of all (c^' cj! iravreg fi/iapTov, 12b). Another 
antithesis becomes visible in the idea of a permanent 
moral struggle as distinguished from a redemption 
once for all completely effected. The impressive 
passage vii. 7-25 cannot be reconciled with the 



to the Bomans undoubtedly was. And, as he observes elsewhere, no 
one has arrived at a psychology — ^any more than a logic — of Paul 
which has satisfied other students. 



ITS COMPOSITION 113 



passages where the Christian is described as having 
broken for ever with sin in becoming free from the 
law. To make the ejaculation of vii. 24, with its 
note of moral seriousness, refer only to Paul's pre- 
Christian life, is to reduce it to mere verbiage. The 
aspiration here is for freedom from the body; and 
it refers to the inward conflict still to be undergone 
by those who from full conviction have already 
embraced Christianity. Whatever may be the original 
source of this passage, the redaction proceeds from 
one whose aim it was to rescue the Pauline teaching 
from the reproach of antinomianism. 

Second Part: ix.-xi. 

It takes good will to find any connexion between 
the second part and the first. Logical sequence there 
is none. We hear nothing more of justification by 
faith : even the words SiKaiog, SiKaiovv, SiKaiovaOai^ 
are not to be found. The question is a new one: 
Why do the heathen accept the Gospel, while 
Israelites exclude themselves from its benefits ? The 
opinion of the critics who regard this piece as originally 
by another hand is substantially correct ; though, as 
was said before, a relative unity has been imposed on 
the different parts in the redaction. It forms a whole 
by itself, and has a conclusion of its own ; as, indeed, 
the first part, with which it is externally linked, has 
an excellent one. In its successive chapters an inti- 
mate relation of the writer to Israel is supposed which 
the preceding ones in no way suggest. He is eager 
to declare himself '' an Imelite, of the seed of 
Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin *' (xi. 1). In the 
former part an entirely different tone is taken with 
the " Jew " (ii. 17), whom the author addresses as if 
he had nothing in common with him. Differences of 

I 



114 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

vocabulary, besides the one mentioned above, can be 
pointed out, notwithstanding the general uniformity 
of style. In cc. i.-viii. the words "Israelite" and 
"Israel " do not occur; in cc. ix.-xi. the first occurs 
twice and the second eleven times. On the other 
hand, the word " Jew " occurs nine times in cc. i.-iii., 
and only twice in cc. ix.-xi. — in both of which cases, 
besides, it may with probability be referred to the 
redactor. In cc. i.-viii. Christ is called seven times, 
in ix.-xi. never, the Son of God. Here the condition 
of salvation is to confess with the mouth that Jesus is 
the Lord {Sn icvpiog '1ii<touc), and to believe in the 
heart that Ood raised him from the dead (x. 9). The 
peculiar relation of " faith " to " grace " and " the 
Spirit " does not come into view. 

The general drift of the three chapters is the defence 
of Paul from the charge that he had no care for the 
ancient people of Ood. Like the preceding ones, they 
form in themselves not a single but a composite 
whole, being put together from sources. This may 
be shown by inconsequences in the order, incon- 
sistencies in detail, and peculiar repetitions ; but 
especially by the presence of broadly contrasted views 
as to the rejection or return of Israel. The first view 
is that the rejection of God's people needs no explana- 
tion beyond his good pleasure (ix. 14-29). Next we 
learn that in fact God has not rejected his people, for 
a remnant has believed (xi. 1-8). Then at the close — 
not to attempt to follow all the complex involutions — 
the mystery is revealed that, when the fulness of the 
Gentiles is come in, all Israel shall be saved ; so that 
finally all are saved (xi, 26-82). Such divergent 
views were certainly not born in the same brain. 



ITS COMPOSITION 116 



Third Part : xii.-xv. 13. 

The attachment of the third to the preceding parts 
is loose and merely mechanical. It would not be 
correct to say that Paul has put first the statement of 
his doctrine, and then added a hortatory completion. 
There are hortatory passages in the foregoing chapters, 
as there are doctrinal statements in those of the third 
part. This last, while forming, in the sense already 
defined, an essential portion of the whole, has a 
different origin from the others. In many peculiarities 
of vocabulary and contents it agrees with portions of 
the Epistles to the Corinthians more than with Rom. 
i.-xi. The idea, for instance, of a measure of faith 
imparted to each (xii. 8) is foreign to the earlier 
chapters of Romans both in expression and in thought, 
while it agrees in both with passages in Corinthians. 
For Rom. i.-xi. faith is the one first principle of the 
new life, and carries with it everything else. The 
idea of a distinction among the gifts of grace 
(xii. 6-8) has its parallel not here, but in 1 Cor. xii. 
4-11, 28-30. 

This section of the Epistle is in itself less organic 
than the other two. Construction of passages (e.^., 
xiii. 1-7) out of various fragments is disclosed by 
alternations, otherwise inexplicable, between the second 
and third persons singular and plural, and by the use 
of different terms for the same office (Smfcovoc» 
xiii. 4; Xsirovpyot, 6). The dissertation on the 
strong and the weak believer (xiv.-xv. 13) presents 
itself as an independent but not unmodified piece. 
The weak in the faith appear from xiv. 2 to be 
vegetarians, but are afterwards treated as Jewish- 
minded Christians (c/. 1 Cor. viii.-x.), who esteem one 
day holier than another (xiv. 6) and regard some 



116 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

meats as unclean (14 S.). Perhaps, as has been con- 
jectured, the original ending of the piece is concealed 
in XV. 5, which a redactor extended by the next verse, 
adding his own terminal formula (rov icvplov rifidv 
*I»j(Tou XpioTov) to the simpler one {Xpiarbv 'Iijcrouv) 
of the primary document.^ 

Conclusion : xv. 14-xvi. 27. 

The conclusion has so little of an organic character 
either in relation to the whole or in itself that many 
critics who hold to the Pauline origin of the rest of 
the Epistle have declared it not genuine, or have tried 
to account for its presence here by supposing it 
brought in from another Epistle of Paul. For us the 
question is not whether it is " genuine," but whether 
it was originally the conclusion of the Epistle entitled 
''to the Bomans." This question has already been 
answered in the aflSirmative, though the answer does 
not exclude further queries as to possible modification 
and rearrangement. The last chapter has a peculiarly 
inorganic character. Some have supposed verses 1-20 
to be part of a letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians — 
which is, so far, to admit the theory of composition 
out of fragments. 

B. — Witnesses for the Existence of a Shorter Epistle. 

The result of the preceding investigation is that 
the Epistle to the Bomans was made rather than 
written. There is evidence also that it was once 
extant in a shorter form. This may be inferred with 
probability from the omissions of Irenaeus and 
TertuUian in citing it; but in any case it is clear 
that the Gnostics, whom they opposed, and who 

^ Thns zy. 12, in which the ** root of Jesse *' is spoken of, belongs, 
like i. 3, to a more recent stratum of the Epistle. 



ITS COMPOSITION 117 



preceded them considerably in time, used a shorter 
Epistle. According to Hippolytos (Philoiophumena 
vii. 25) y who makes no remark here on the textual 
difference, Basilides quoted the substance of viii. 
19-22 in a briefer and more intelligible form than 
that of the canonical text : *^ The creation itself also 
groaneth and travaileth together waiting for the 
manifestation of the sons of God " (icai i^ Krtmg ainrii 
^rvarrevaZH Koi tntvioSivei rfjv awoKokvipiv riov viiov rov 
deov iK^ex^fiivfi).^ The inference that he had a dif- 
ferent text before him is confirmed by comparison of 
V. 13, 14 with another citation which Hippolytus 
makes further on : '* To Moses from Adam then sin 
reigned, as is written " ifiixpi /ilv ouv Moxrlwc iiro 
'ASa/i ifiairtXeifvtv ri afiaprta^ KaOijg yiypairrai). This 
is not a quotation from the canonical text, but 
recalls it, and is explicable on the supposition that 
Basilides used a form of the Epistle no longer extant. 
We have more information about the text read by 
Marcion. This was certainly shorter than the 
canonical text, which TertulUan accuses him of 
mutilating. We cannot, of course, take the word 
of the '* Catholics " for it that their text was the 
original, though there is no need to accuse them of 
bad faith. The mere fact that the copies they had 

1 The Gnostic, as was explained in a discussion not included in the 
foregoing snmmary, understood by this desire of the natural creation 
lor delivery a desire to be set free from the *< sons of Gk)d " — ^that is, 
the Christians — ^who, not being of this world, troubled its hannony. 
The end of its longing is " that all the men of the sonship should go 
up hence ** (&a rolrres difikStoaiw irrM€w oL rrji% vl&nfnn ^^pcMroc). Ck>dy 
haying at length taken pity, will ihad oyer the whole world a deep 
obliyion, ** to the end that 9XL things mfty remain according to natore, 
and nothing may desire anyttiing eontraiy to nature.** Thus the 
world, knowing no more henceforth of the ''sons of Gk)d," and 
contented in its ignorance, will not again be troubled with fimilar 
birth-pangs. 



118 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

before them contained passages not included in the 
Epistle recognised by the " heretic " was sufficient in 
their own eyes to justify the charge of falsification 
current from Irenaeus onward. In reality, there are 
positive grounds for holding the form of the Epistle 
read by Marcion to be the older. Irenaeus wrote his 
chief work against the heretics at least forty years 
after Marcion came forward at Bome ; and this allows 
time for modifications to be made in the text, and for 
unjust suspicions to arise about the reason of the 
differences. For Marcion, Paul was " the Apostle "; 
he did not take him over as an authority from his 
opponents. Irenseus and Tertullian, on the other 
hand, were busily engaged in trying to capture " the 
Apostle of the heretics " in the Catholic interest. 
Which, then, is more probable — that Marcion set up 
for himself an authority to which he could appeal 
only after extensive mutilations; or that that 
authority, which, as we must remember, he himself 
and the men of his direction had brought into 
repute, afterwards received additions and underwent 
modifications from the other side? We need not 
regard him as exempt from the bad habits of the 
second century with regard to texts that were to be 
quoted as authoritative ; but, if he attempted a falsifi- 
cation on so large a scale, it seems strange that he 
did not carry it through more efficiently. In the text 
he used, passage after passage stood which his 
opponents could afterwards allege against him ; while 
others were absent which did not even to the smallest 
extent tell against any position of his. And if, while 
he was about it, he had done the work thoroughly, he 
would not have found it necessary to write a contro- 
versial treatise to prove that Paul, in spite of some 
appearances to the contrary, was really on his side. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE? 119 



On all grounds we must conclude that Marcion's 
shorter text was earlier and more original than the 
canonical text. 

(7, — General View, 

Putting the various considerations together, we may 
state the result thus. The Epistle to the Romans was 
constructed with the aid of short treatises already 
extant. These were at various times taken up into a 
composition in the form of a letter, which went 
through several "editions." Each time they were 
modified and adapted in view of their relation to the 
whole. The earliest edition was much shorter than 
the final one. Conjectures may be formed as to the 
outlines of the Epistle at earlier stages ; but there 
can be no thought of actually reconstructing the 
editions or determining their no doubt very complex 
relations to one another. 

4. — Whence Came the Epistle? 

A, — Significance of the Preceding Investigation. 

If not in the abstract impossible, it is at least highly 
improbable that Paul himself should have put together, 
under the external form of a letter, a composition of 
the kind described. The result of the analysis in 
any case contradicts the accepted tradition as to the 
origin of the Epistle to the Eomans, since this is 
taken to be an actual letter bringing us face to face 
with the original thought of the Apostle. To meet 
the arguments, however, that will still be urged 
against rejecting the apostolic authorship, a new 
investigation is requisite. The question must be put 
as if it had not already received its answer : Was the 
Epistle written by Paul? And, in connexion with 



120 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

this investigation, we mast try to determine positively 
whence the writing proceeded. 

B. — Improbdbility of the Tradition. 

As has been said already, we in vain seek to learn 
why Paul wrote a letter of the kind to the Roman 
Christians, or what was his relation to them. How is 
it that he is able to take such a tone of authority 
towards men with whom he has never personally come 
in contact ? Tradition, of course, replies that Paul 
was an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and as such possessed 
and claimed authority. And, indeed, the writer of the 
Epistle, speaking in Paul's name, comes forward in 
this spirit (IlauXoc, SouXoc Xpitrrov 'Iijcrov, kXittoc airo- 
oToXoc, af^(>)pi(Tfiivog cic cva-y-ylXcov Ocou, i. 1). His right 
to instruct and praise and warn is taken for granted 
all through. The fact that Paul is an Israelite even 
contributes to the proof that God has not rejected his 
people (xi. 1). From the supematuralist point of 
view there is, of course, no difficulty about this ; but 
those for whom that point of view has become obsolete 
cannot so easily admit that the Apostles themselves 
could without arrogance assume straightway the attri- 
butes a grateful posterity was to invest them with. 
Paul as an intelligent man could not take this high 
tone with Christians unknown to him, whom he 
desired to win for his cause ; and the more if the 
traditional story is true that there were already 
divisions in the Church. It is remarkable that he 
gives no plain and succinct statement of his principles, 
but supposes an acquaintance on the part of his 
audience with the outlines of Paulinism. There are 
in the Epistle, one may put it in parliamentary 
language, some things hard to be understood (lar\ 
ivavoriTa riva, 2 Peter iii. 16). To speak more 



WHENCE CAlfE THE EPISTLE? 121 

bluntly, the oncertainty in which we are often left as 
to the writer's meaning is due to the presence of con- 
tradictory utterances. This is how things appear 
when we no longer see the head of the venerable 
Apostle surrounded with the nimbus that for ages 
adorned it — ^when he has become for us simply a 
human figure from whom we expect only the possible 
and the probable. That a zecdous preacher of the 
Gospel who hoped ere long to pay a visit to the 
Christians at Rome should write to them beforehand 
a lengthy and obscure epistle in a tone of apostolic 
authority is possible, but it is not probable. More- 
over, we should not expect that kind of literary activity 
from an artisan-preacher like the Paul of New 
Testament tradition (Acts xviii. 8-4, xx. 38-84 ; 1 Cor. 
iv. 12 ; 2 Thess. iii. 8 ; c/. 2 Cor. xi. 8-9, xii. 18). AU 
evidence as to the effect of the Epistle on the Boman 
Christians is wanting. According to the ordinary 
view, it was sent about 59. After that there is no 
trace of it until, more than half a century later, we 
find it held in honour by — ^the Gnostics ! Where was 
it preserved before it came, we know not how, into 
the hands of men like Basilides and Marcion ? 

C. — IndieaUom of a Later Time. 

Much in the Epistle to the Romans, apart from 
these antecedent improbabilities, points to a later date 
than 59, or than 64, in which year, according to the 
tradition, Paul suffered martyrdom. To this order of 
facts belong in the first place — 

Doctrinal Utterances. 

The Jewish law has been definitively broken with. 
The light which the Gentiles had by nature (i. 19-21) 
could bring them as far in the knowledge of Gh>d as 



122 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

their revelation could bring the Jews. The law was 
as inadequate as natural light to the universal need. 
To rescue men in general from bondage to sin, a new 
revelation was required. If, indeed, some among the 
chosen people have been found " doers of the law," 
this is no more than has been achieved among the 
Gentiles, who, " having not the law, are a law unto 
themselves" (ii. 18-14). Par from saving men, the 
law rather called slumbering evil into life by awaken- 
ing the desire opposed to its commands. For the 
Christian it has lost its significance. He is liberated 
from sin in being liberated from the law (vi. 14). The 
new revelation is " without the law " (wvt 81 x^P^^ 
vofjLOv SiKaioavvri 0€oi; irefj^avipwraiy iii. 21).^ God has 
found the means for the salvation of sinners, which 
the old law could not effect. He has sent his Son, by 
" faith *' in whom men are to be saved — that is, made 
capable of living a life pleasing to God. There is no 
question of merit ; all is " grace." The new dispen- 
sation of " spirit," opposed to the "letter" of the Old 
Testament, is a dispensation of the grace of God. To 
Paul a special grace has been granted, so that he can 
speak of " my Gospel," which is no other than " the 
Gospel of God," or simply " the Gospel." He and 
the believers in his Gospel are under the guidance of 
the Holy Ghost, They walk " after the Spirit" (icorA 
irvevjULa^ viii. 4). This new Gospel of belief in the 

^ This is a Pauiinism expounded indeed on the basis of specific 
statements, but rendered comparatively free from the confusions and 
contradictions of our documents. The clause that follows the above 
{fiapTvpovfiivTj xnrb toO ydfiov Kal tQv 'rpo<f>'rjTCjp) is treated as pari 
of the ** water " with which the redactor diluted the strong wine of 
the older *' Pauline ^* Gospel out of which proceeded a doctrine like 
that of Marcion. The verse as it stands furnishes a good iUoBtration 
of Julian's remark about Paul's perpetual changes of colour {dartp ol 
iroX&JTodei irphz rij irirpai). 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 123 

Son of God is "the revelation of the mystery, which 
was kept secret since the world began " (xvi. 25). 

For the writer of the Epistle in its present form, the 
God who is the author of this revelation is identical 
with the God of the Jews ; but there are indications, 
that originally it was not so. When there is mention 
of the law of God simply (viii. 7), it is not the Mosaic 
law that is meant, but the " law of faith " as distin- 
guished from the " law of works " (iii. 27). The Jew 
is under illusion when he thinks he has "the form of 
knowledge and of the truth " (ii. 20). The true God 
is not, as we might suppose, the governor of the world* 
Bather he stands in opposition to this world (xii. 2), as 
the spirit to the flesh. The created world of sense or 
of unreason was subjected to vanity " by him who 
subjected it " (8m rbv vTrora^avra, viii. 20) — that is, not 
by God, nor yet by the devil, but by a power resem- 
bling the demiurge of the Gnostics. (This power 
Basilides called " the great archon." His empire 
extended to the visible heaven ; he was under the 
delusion that he was the highest God, but was after- 
wards made aware of his error by the Son, and 
repented.) The " rulers of this world " (apxovreg to\^ 
aliovoc TovTov), who knew not what they did when 
they crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Cor. ii. 8), were ne 
earthly authorities, Jewish or Roman, but supernatural 
powers, the "gods many and lords many," the 
" demons " (c/. Rom, viii. 88, ayyeXoi and apx^O' For 
the love of man, in order to rescue him from the 
powers of the world, God sent his Son to die under 
their dominion, and then delivered him again from 
" death " — one of these lower, hostile powers. The 
highest God is thus no longer the Unknown. He has 
revealed himself. Believers in the new revelation 
know him for their Father, as in a more special sense 



124 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

he is the Father of " his own Son." They serve him 
** in the spirit "; no longer, like Jews and heathens, in 
temples made with hands. Jesus, from the Messiah 
or Christ of the early disciples, has become Christ the 
Son of God, a pre-existent supernatural being, sent in 
the likeness of flesh, though not flesh. To declare 
him at once man according to the flesh, and the Son 
of God according to the spirit, was a later development 
springing from the effort to reconcile the newer with 
the older conception. In the Epistle to the Bomans 
almost nothing is said of his life on earth : to the cross 
there is only one allusion (vi. 6). 

From this recapitulation of Faulinism, it must be 
evident that a considerable lapse of time was needed 
before such a system could be arrived at from a 
starting-point so Jewish as that of the disciples of 
Jesus. And, if the data of the Epistles are regarded 
as historical, there is no escape from the conclusion 
that Faul's distinctive Gospel, the revelation of the 
Son in him, coincides in its origin with his conversion 
(Gal. i. 11-24). No period during which he was a 
Judaeo-Christian can be interposed. And the received 
chronology cannot be materially altered consistently 
with acceptance of the Epistles as genuine. Thus we 
have to suppose his Gospel in the main already 
present to his thought, no more than three years 
after Jesus — that is, in 35 or 86, and extant in the form 
in which we know it between 52 and 58 or 59. The 
zealot for orthodox Judaism has no sooner been 
brought to see in Jesus of Nazareth the promised 
Messiah than he goes on to regard him as the Son of 
Ood sent down to earth for the sake of men ; preaches 
deliverance from the Law ; and appeals for his new 
conviction to a revelation of the Spirit. If we were 
not familiar with this representation from our youth. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 125 



we should reject it at once as incredible. The diffi- 
culty of so rapid an advance for one who had been a 
Jew is realised when we think of the sharp opposition 
which Pauline Christianity still met with in the 
second and third centuries. That Paul himself came 
forward with the "Pauline" Gospel at so early a 
date as that assigned is, if we consider it well, a 
psychological impossibility. It is simply unthinkable 
that Paul the Jew, who had persecuted the Christian 
community out of religious conviction, should almost 
immediately introduce this colossal reform of a belief 
which he had only just begun to share. Had it not 
been for the influence of non-Jewish Eastern gnosis^ 
assimilating Greek philosophical conceptions and 
heathen mythology, the monotheism of Israel would 
have permanently withheld Christianity from the 
** deification " of its " founder." Enoch and Moses 
and Elijah were already imagined to have attained in 
an exceptional way to heaven without the thought 
arising that they had been other than human beings. 
If it is said that " Paul of Tarsus " might easily come 
in contact with Greek philosophy and Eastern gnosis, 
the reply is at hand in an observation that has been 
made on the religion of Mohammed. There was ne 
deification of its founder by Islam, because it " was 
born too much in the light of history for unen- 
cumbered growth of legends." This applies com- 
pletely to Paul, because for him Jesus was still in 
the full "light of history."^ It may be said that, 

1 The destructive argument Is, of course, not invalidated if we 
go further and adopt the position that *' Jesus of Nazareth** is 
mythical. The point is that no supematuralist development so 
exalted as that of the Pauline epistles could be arrived at by a Jew of 
Paul's assumed date who had come in contact with companions of an 
actual Jesus. 



126 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

psychologically possible or not, there is the fact that 
Paul did come forward with his Gospel. To this the 
reply is that the supposed fact rests only on the 
Epistles, of which we are investigating the genuine- 
ness. Turn to the passage in Galatians already 
referred to ; it is in vain that we try to learn from 
it anything as to the mode of revelation of the new 
Oospel. " Nobody knows," as a French critic has 
rightly remarked ; and it is idle to plunge into hypo- 
thesis in order to explain an assumed fact for which 
there is no historical warrant. 

Acqiuiintance with Paulinism. 

By the time when the Epistle to the Eomans was 
written there already existed a whole vocabulary of 
technical terms belonging to Paulinism. With these 
the reader is assumed to be familiar. " Faith " and 
•** grace,'* " righteousness " and " love,' " justijBication 
by faith " and " by the works of the law," and so 
forth,^ are used without any feeling of difficulty in 
^together peculiar senses. There are all sorts of 
standing questions connected with the Pauline Gospel. 
Is there, where Jews and Greeks are concerned, 
respect of persons with God {TrpotrfoiroXrifXipia irapa 
rq» 0£q», ii. 11)? Has the Jew, as such, any 
advantage over the Greek, seeing that both sin ? In 
what sense may Abraham be called the father of 
Christians? If the Christian no longer lives under 

^ As terms that are intelligible only if referred to the Panline theology, 
the following are cited: — ttUftis and xa/>is» dtKcuoaiivrf and dydmif viffrei^eip 
and diKoiovffdou, SiKaiovffdai, iK Tia-reus and diKaiovadai i^ ipyuv pdfiov, 
aftaprdvcLv dySficas and dfiaprdveiv ippSfJuas, vapaZodrjvai. and d.Toda»€w 
<inrkp dt^Bpiinruy, droX&rpuxnSf PairTurdrjvai els Xpurr&p, cwrTavpovtrdax 
(Xpwry), f^f Kard cdpKa, Kard Trvev/ia, ry Oef iv Xpurrf. And of 
course these are not isolated expressions picked out : they form the 
texture of the thought. 



WHENCE CkME THE EPISTLE ? 127 

law, but under grace, is there not a danger that he 
may think sin permitted to him? How to explain 
the rejection of Israel? The readers of the Epistle 
know and have accepted Paulinism as a peculiar form 
of doctrine (v7r*?icov(Tar€ Ik KapStag elg 8v Tra/ocSrffliirc 
Tvwov SiSaxfjc, vi. 17). Now, all this tells against 
its supposed early origin. If, on the other hand, the 
existence of a Pauline community or group at Bome 
about the year 59 is treated as a fiction of the writer, 
who lived in a later generation, there is no difficulty 
in the case. 

Affinity with Gnosis, 

That there is some close relationship between 
Paulinism and Gnosticism is generally admitted, 
however it may be explained, whether by a pre- 
Pauline gnosis influencing Paul or by the existence 
in his writings of germs which the Gnostics afterwards 
developed. Most of the Christian Gnostics are known 
to have held " Paul " in high honour. Tertullian 
undertakes to refute the " heretics " by the testimony 
of their own Apostle (" Apostolus vester," Adv. Marc, 
i. 15). And, in fact, the Pauline writings are full 
of the phraseology and the ideas characteristic of 
Gnosticism. The same peculiar stress is laid on 
" knowledge " {yvtSmg). We hear of the " wisdom " 
{(roif>ta) that is spoken among "the perfect" (rote 
reXdoig, 1 Cor. ii. 6-16). The highest knowledge 
rests neither on tradition nor on Scripture, but on a 
special revelation. It has pleased God, says Paul, 
"to reveal his Son in me" (a?roicaX^ac rov vlov 
airrov iv ifiol. Gal. i. 16 ; cf.l Cor. ii. 10, lifcTv 
a7r€fcaAui//€v 6 Qthq iia rov irvavfiarog) , For him and his 
there is a continual " manifestation of the truth " 
{<l>avip(0(ng Trig aXvyOefac, 2 Cor. iv. 2). They have 
nothing to do with the letter (Bom. ii. 29, vii. 6 ; 



128 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

2 Cor. iii. 6). Like the Gnostics, they are "spiritual'* 
(irvcv/uarcicoO, in possession of " the spirit " (ro Trvcvfco). 
Anti-Judaism, in spite of sentences to the contrary 
scattered through the Epistles, is just as much a 
characteristic of the Pauline as of the Gnostic teaching. 
The "called" (oJ kXijtoO stand opposed to both 
Jews and Greeks outside as the "saved" ((roi^o/isvoe) 
to the "lost" (awoWifuvoi, 1 Cor. i. 18, 24). By 
the natural or animal man (i/zux^koc av9pu)woQ\ who 
"receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," is 
meant the Jew as well as the Greek. Like all gnosis, 
Paulinism cares little for historical events except as 
material for allegory. This indifference extends not 
only to the Old Testament, but to the actual life of 
Jesus on earth (2 Cor. v. 16). If dualism is a mark 
of the Gnostic teaching, it is no less a mark of the 
Pauline. We find opposed — God and the world, which 
has its own " rulers " and "elements"; the wisdom 
of God and the wisdom of the world ; God and Satan ; 
God and his Son on the one side and a series of 
powers hostile to them on the other ; " the light of 
the gospel of the glory of Christ" and the blindness 
proceeding from " the god of this world "(2 Cor. iv. 4); 
the animal and the spiritual {to ;//vx<icov and ro 
irvzvfiaTiKov)] flesh and spirit; and so forth. The 
differences between Paulinism and Gnosticism are 
not greater than the mutual differences of the Gnostic 
systems known to us. We recognise both by the 
peculiar significance they give to certain words^ and 
phrases (Rom. xi. 83) and antitheses (viii. 88, 39). 
Thus it may be stated as unquestionable that there 
are Gnostic elements in the Pauline writings, including 

^ E,g,, ypwffiSf dXiffOeia, <ro<pla, Kdafios, X'^P^'h iryeOfia, rMjfxaiMO, 



WHENC3E CAME THE EPISTLE? 129 

the Epistle to the Romans. Now, whether Paulinism 
is to be placed at the origin of the Christian gnosis or 
later in its development may be left for the present 
undetermined. In any case, these elements are fatal 
to the claim of the Epistles containing them to have 
been written by Paul. For the origin of Christian 
Gnosticism, if perhaps somewhat earlier that the last 
years of the reign of Trajan (d, 117), to which it is 
commonly assigned, cannot be carried back to a period 
within the lifetime of the Apostle.^ 

The Community. 

There is nothing to prevent us from supposing a 
Christian community already in existence at Bome 
when Claudius (41-54), according to a statement of 
Suetonius, expelled the Jews from Rome (" Judaeos im- 
pulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit," 
Claud, 25). If we refer the cause of this expul- 
sion of the Jews^ to a strife that had arisen among 
them through the belief of some that Jesus was the 
Messiah, we may reasonably assume that in 59 the 
Christian (or Messianic) community was as much as 
twenty years old. The Epistle to the Romans, how- 
ever, implies a considerably greater antiquity. For 
it presupposes more than the growth of a Messianic 
sect — a " sect of the Nazarenes " — similar to the sects 

^ Professor Schmiedel, defending the genuineness of Bomans in the 
Eibhert Journal for April, 1903, lays down the position that the four 
** principal Epistles " stand or fall together, so that none can be dealt 
with as an isolated problem. In the foregoing section this position 
seems to have been already turned successfully in favour of the opposite 
view. It will be observed that there are references to all of them, and 
not simply to Bomans, as contributing to the account of the Pauline 
gnosis. 

3 Perhaps only threatened, and in any case not thoroughly carried 
out. 

E 



130 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

of the Sadducees and Pharisees, and, like them, 
included within the limits of Judaism. The com- 
munity addressed numbers among its members 
Faulinists, and even Paulinists with an eye for shades 
of difference within the general doctrine. This is 
not thinkable at so early a date, even if for a moment 
we suppose the doctrine to have developed in the mind 
of Paul himself to the stage it has attained in the 
Epistle to the Bomans. 

The practical precepts, no less than the doctrinal 
developments, indicate the existence of a past that 
is not of yesterday. Consider, for example, those 
that relate to the performance of a variety of functions 
by the many members of one body (xii. 4-8). Some 
members are " weak in the faith " (c. xiv.) ; they 
avoid flesh and wine, or pay scrupulous attention to 
distinctions of days and of " clean " and " unclean " 
meats. Others think it permissible to eat and drink 
of anything, and treat all days alike. So long have 
these differences subsisted that the writer mixes up 
with the Judaisers those who have scruples about 
partaking of flesh and wine, and has no better solution 
to offer than the genuinely " Catholic " one of praising 
freedom and advising that it should not be put in 
practice. 

Persecutions. 

Such allusions to persecution to be undergone as 
we meet with in xii. 12, 14, and other places, point to 
a later date than 59. Before that of Nero there is no 
trace of such a persecution at Bome; and what is 
said to have occurred on the pretext of the great fire 
in 64 had not the character of a general persecution 
of Christians. Besides, Paul could not have thought 
of putting his readers in mind of that, five years 
before it happened. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE? 131 

The Rejection of Israel, 

The question so earnestly debated (cc. ix.-}d.)> 
why Israel, the chosen people of God, remains outside 
Christianity, could not arise till it had become evident 
that such, with few exceptions, was to be the per- 
manent condition of things. For this it was neces- 
sary that the Gospel should have been preached in 
wide circles ; as is, indeed, everywhere presupposed, 
and almost stated in so many words (x. 18-18). The 
opportunity has been offered to all, but most have 
refused to accept it (xi. 7). Now in 59 nothing had 
yet happened to justify the assumption that Israel 
must be regarded as broken off from the root — a 
rejected branch (xi. 17-21). To explain the writer's 

appeal, "Behold the severity of God" (tSe aTroro- 

fiiav GeoD, xi. 22), at least the fall of Jerusalem in 
the year 70 was necessary. That was the first event 
of importance since the death of Jesus in which 
Christians could see a judgment upon the Jews. 

Faults in the Form. 

Expressions from time to time inadvertently used 
make it evident that the writer is not Paul, but is some- 
one speaking in his name at a later date. Such, for 
example, are the passages in which the Apostle betrays 
consciousness of being the representative of a party 
(iii. 8, etc.). Paul the bom Jew would not have 
called himself a debtor to '' Greeks and barbarians " 
{i. 14). The appeal to Paul the Israelite as a proof 
that God has not rejected his people (xi. 1) is plainly 
enough what would occur to a younger admirer and 
not to the Apostle himself. Unless Paul actually 
worked miracles, the assertion in xv. 19 points to 
someone distant enough to mix up truth and fiction in 



132 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

his life. When, as is supposed, he wrote his Epistle 
from Corinth, he was a free man, and consequently 
could not speak of his " fellow-prisoners " (xvi. 7). 
The warning against false teachers (xvi. 17-20) is 
explicable as put in the mouth of the Apostle so that 
the ''orthodox" might appeal to his authority in some 
present contest : it could not have occurred to Paul 
himself writing to the Bomans in the year 59. 

Written Gospels. 

In our Epistle to the Bomans there are traces of 
acquaintance with a written Gospel. The phrase in 
ii. 16 {Kara to ^vayyiXiov /now, cf. i. 9, Xvi. 25) is 
most intelligible as referring to a book, and was so 
imderstood by Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome. Prom 
expressions not identical with, but recalling those of 
our canonical Gospels, it may be inferred that occa- 
sionally something was taken over from the Gospel 
spoken of. The following are possibly examples of 
this procedure: oStjyov elvai rvipXCjv (ii. 19), cf. 
Matt. XV. 14, Luke vi. 39 ; ^olc rCJv ev aKorei (ii. 19), 
cf. Matt. V. 14, Luke xi. 35 ; 6 Kptvtov (ii. 1), cf 
Matt. vii. 1, Luke vi. 37. More especially there may 
be cited : evXoyeire roifg SitJKOvrag vfiag, evXoyeirs Koi 
fifi KarapidOe (xii. 14), cf Matt. V. 44, Luke vi. 28; 
love as the fulfilling of the law (xiii. 8-10, also Gal. 
V. 14), cf. Matt. xxii. 34-40, Mark xii. 28-84, Luke x. 
25-27 ; eKaarog vfiHv Trspi iavrov \6yov Scocrce rtf Oei^M 
(xiv. 12), cf Matt. xii. 86. Perhaps the Gospel used 
was the one recognised by the Marcionites. The friends 
of tradition who, following the Fathers mentioned 
above, would identify it with our third Gospel, are 
confronted with the necessity of placing the Epistle at 
least as late as the end of the first or the beginning of 
the second century, unless they have the courage to 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 133 

accept the third Gospel as a work which Luke the 
companion of Paul had already completed. In any 
case, the use of it indicates a later date than that 
which is traditionally assigned to the Epistle to the 
Romans. 

Books of Acts. 

A passage in the Epistle such as xv. 16-31 has the 
air, not of a real account of his work and plans by the 
Apostle, but of a decorated presentation of a tradition. 
Grace has been given to Paul, we are told, to be a 
priest of the Gospel among the nations, whom he 
is to offer as an acceptable sacrifice to God {elg ro 
elval fjL£ XeiTOvpybv Xpiarov 'Ifjo-ou, Upovpyovvra to 
evayyiXiov row Oeov, ?va yivrirai 17 irpodtpopa tgJv 
iOvCjv evirpoaSeicrogy rryiafTfiivri iv irvevfiari ayftji, 
XV. 16). This is the language of one who knows 
him as the hero of a legend, and wishes to make 
a deep impression on the reader. What we hear 
about his missionary activity, its extent and its 
complete success (xv. 19, 28), can be similarly 
interpreted as an exaggeration ''consecrated" by 
tradition. That the plans ascribed to him are merely 
put in his mouth is manifest from verses 30-31. If 
we do not choose to ascribe to Paul at once the art of 
reading the future and the desire against knowledge to 
rush on his own destruction without necessity, we 
can only explain the fear expressed in these verses by 
what the Pauline tradition had to tell of the dangers 
he ran at Jerusalem, and the ill acceptance of the 
contribution he brought with him. This is not, 
indeed, a story the knowledge of which was gained 
from the Acts of the Apostles, as one might be tempted 
at first to suppose ; for the author of Acts deliberately 
glides over Paul's bad reception by the " saints," and 
adds circumstances not alluded to in the Epistle. The 



184 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

outline of Paul's future journey in this passage of 
Romans was no more drawn from Acts than were the 
statements that he and his had " the firstfruits of 
the Spirit " (viii. 28), and that he was specially called 
to preach the Gospel among the heathen (i. 1, 6) ;^ 
these prerogatives being there ascribed to quite different 
persons {cf. Acts ii., x.-xi., xv. 7). The traditional 
basis we recognise is that of the Acts of PatU, already 
disclosed as one of the documents that went to the 
composition of the canonical Acts. And that document, 
as we saw in Fart I., was already of a legendary 
character, and cannot have been earlier than the end 
of the first century. 

D, — Nationcdity of the Author. 

In spite of his positively assuring us that he is a 
bom Israelite, the writer comes forward constantly in 
the character of a Greek. He speaks Greek and he 
thinks in Greek. His consciousness of being a Greek 
and not a Jew is betrayed by expressions such as the 
one already noted (" Greeks and barbarians," i. 14) ; 
just as the writer of 1 Cor. xi. 4 reveals his nationality 
in holding it unfitting for a man to pray with covered 
head. The same explanation would remove all 
difficulty in the text of iii. 9 {rlovv; wpoBx^Oa;). 
The question would then mean, ** Are we (Greeks) put 
at a disadvantage ?" To which the answer is, " In no 
wise : for we have before proved of Jews as well as 
Greeks, that they are all under sin." The author 
forgets for a moment that he is speaking in 
the character of one who had been a Jew. Quite 



^ No doubt such assertions can be found in Acts, but (as has been 
shown) in the substratum detected by criticism, not in what we may 
call the official superstructure, referred to in the next clause above. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 135 

consistent with this interpretation is the fact that he 
nowhere gives any sign of having consulted the 
Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Only in two 
places (xi. 35, xii. 19) can there be a doubt that the 
Septuagint was the text he used ; and even here all 
that is suggested is a variation in the reading, or the 
use of a Greek translation other than the one known 
to us. This is certainly not what we should expect 
from the former pupil of Gamaliel. 

It has been pointed out that " Paul " made much 
use of the Wisdom of Solomon ; and clear traces of 
acquaintance with Philo have been detected. This 
again indicates contact with Alexandrian or Hellenistic 
Judaism rather than with the thought of the Old 
Testament in its original form. For we must not 
forget that the Wisdom of Solomon^ originally written 
in Greek, belonged to the Septuagint. Thus, to 
explain the relationship between Paulinism and 
Judaism, there is no need to suppose that a Jew by 
birth was the writer of the principal* Epistles. Of 
acquaintance with Hebrew there is no trace. Words 
like " Abba," " Satanas," " Maranatha," were part of 
the common speech of early Christianity.^ 

^ With this result may be compared the conclusion reached by Mr. 
C. G. Montefiore in the Jewish Quarterly Review for January, 1901. 
V^hile not hinting the least doubt as to the Pauline authorship of the 
Epistles, but, on the contrary, holding that, by the admission of his 
thesis, '* the puzzles and difficulties of the Epistles of St. Paul would 
certainly be increased," he nevertheless feels bound to say that the 
impression left is: "Either this man was never a Babbinic Jew at 
all, or he has quite forgotten what Babbinic Judaism was and is ** 
("Babbinic Judaism and the Epistles of St. Paul,'* J. Q, i2., vol. ziii., 
pp. 205-6). On the other hand : "The Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels 
was a critic and pathologist of Judaism. His criticisms are real : they 

are flesh and blood But the author of the Epistle to the Bomans 

fights, for the most part, in the air " {loc. cit,, p. 167). 



136 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

E. — Attempts at Parrying Difficulties. 

Many who have felt the difficulties of the Pauline 
authorship have tried to meet them by supposing 
interpolations, or a series of editions starting &om a 
genuine Pauline basis ; and attempts have been made 
to restore the original Epistle to the Romans. This 
conjectural criticism, however, when carried through 
to any purpose, itself ends in practically abandoning 
the genuineness of the canonical Epistle. And even in 
its extremest form it does not touch the difficulty of 
assuming a more advanced doctrinal development 
than is thinkable in the lifetime of Paul. 

F. — Arguments for Genuineness. 

The appeal to external evidence falls to the ground. 
For in any case it does not bring us in contact with 
contemporary witnesses ; and the later witnesses cited, 
whether of the " orthodox Church " or Gnostics, 
concerned themselves only with the contents and not 
with the origin of the writing. Adaptation to their 
own doctrinal or disciplinary aims, not critical research 
in our sense, was what they had in view. 

" Even the Tubingen school," it is often said, 
* * accepted the four principal Epistles." This, however, 
means only that the critics thus named had never 
radically questioned the genuineness of those four, for 
to some extent they found it necessary to suppose 
interpolations in them. It does not mean that those 
particular Epistles had emerged triumphantly from 
any systematic process of testing to which they were 
submitted along with the rest. Critics of a later age, 
as is usual in the history of science, may see further 
by placing themselves on the shoulders of their pre- 
decessors. And, however this may be, the genuineness 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 137 

of a writing cannot be established simply by an appeal 
iio traditional authority, whether of the Church or of 
*** science." 

Those who find in the Epistle to the Romans an 
image of the personality of Paul have already formed 
•their ideal of the Apostle from a study of the writings 
fkttributed to him ; so that the argument is circular. 
And unfortunately the various ideal Pauls do not 
ttgree. There is a Catholic and a Protestant Paul; an 
•orthodox and a free-thinking Paul ; and, in fact, each 
interpreter has his own. No one denies that both in 
form and in content the Epistles are peculiar. But does 
this prove either individual authorship or the author- 
ship of the Apostle Paul ? Cannot the same thing be 
•said of the fourth Gospel, of the Apocalypse of John, 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the Epistle of 
Barnabas? Yet the distinctive character of those 
"Compositions is not taken for a proof of their 
** genuineness." It is true that in the Pauline 
Epistles there is a marked unity of style, which extends 
i;o the whole collection.^ But mutatis mutandis this 
is equally true of the Johannine literature (Gospels 
and Epistles), of the Homeric poems, and of many 
other collections, earlier and later, which are thereby 
proved indeed to have had their origin in definite 
tsircles, but not necessarily to be the work of the 
persons whose names were attached to them. Not 
many years ago readers of the fourth Gospel could 
ieel on every page the heart-beats of the disciple whom 
Jesus loved. This ought to suggest caution, especially 
as no one has yet been able to set forth in words an 
idea of the personality of Paul which has satisfied an 

^ Of this collection the Epistle to the Hebrews is treated elsewhere 
^OttdchrUtelijke Letterkunde, p. 62) as a somewhat outlying member. 



188 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

appreciable number of students. There are in truth 
many voices in our Epistle. If one or other of these 
makes a powerful impression, does it follow that it 
can proceed from no one but Paul ? A writer of the 
requisite degree of power will not fail of effect when 
speaking under some great name of the past instead 
of under his own.^ That the ** Pauline '* ideas were 
not invented by the individual writers is, of course^ 
admitted. Like the '' Johannine " ideas, they were 
common to certain groups, and arose earlier than the 
writings in which they were deposited. 

G. — Conjectural Mode of Origin. 

To sum up : The "Epistle of Paul to the Romans '* 
is a writing in the form of a letter, but not having its 
origin, even remotely, in a real letter. It is the 
product of repeated recasting, extension, and modifi- 
cation of a shorter " Epistle," and was probably, both 
in the earliest and in the later editions, composed 
with the help of pre-existing treatises on various 
subjects of doctrinal and ethical nature. The whole 
grew, in the manner of a synoptic Gospel, out of that 
which had preceded it in the same kind. 

The pre-existing ** letters " and other pieces had 
this in common : that they all issued from a single 
circle and were composed in the interest of a single 
direction of religious thought, which we may call the 
''Pauline," because it was attached to the name of 
Paul as the ''Johannine" was attached to the name of 
John. 

1 Some of the finest passages ascribed to the Hebrew prophets are 
admittedly by unknown authors ; and this is really a stronger case than 
that of the Pauline writings. Apart from effective short passages,. 
Van Manen remarks {OudchrUtelijke Letterkunde, p. 38), the sosthetie 
value of the Epistle to the Bomans is not great. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 18^ 

" Paulinism " was a deep-going effort, perhaps not 
at first conscious of its own meaning, to cut Christianity 
loose from Judaism and to raise it to the stage of & 
universal religion. It appeals, as has been said, to & 
new revelation of the supreme God, whom hitherto- 
neither Israel nor the heathen world has been able U> 
find. God the Father, now at length revealed, has 
sent his Son and given him over to the alien powers, 
that rule the world, so that he may redeem the chosen 
** spiritual " men for whom — ^to the temporary exclu- 
sion of all else in this world — God, who is himself 
Spirit, is alone concerned. Those who have learned 
to know him are as many as are called by " grace," 
through the preaching of the " Gospel," to " faith."" 
In the future the world too will be redeemed, and God 
will be all in all. 

The Son, according to the newly revealed " know- 
ledge," came to earth in the apparently human form 
of Jesus, who, having been crucified by the hostile 
powers of the world, was raised by God from the dead» 
He will come again ; will destroy the hostile powers ; 
and then will resign to the Father the dominion over 
all things which he has temporarily assumed. What 
is of chief importance now is to know him not after 
the flesh, but after the spirit ; as the head of the com- 
munity of believers, as the body of which they are 
the members, as himself the Spirit (6 Si Kvpiog ro- 
irvBvjuLa ifTTiv, 2 Cor. iii. 17). Outside Christ, man 
has no means of freeing himself from the bonds of 
sense and rising to a '^ spiritual " life. 

Thus Paulinism was a new birth of the oldest 
Christianity. It began to teach that a salvation 
unattainable by the practice of moral virtue or by 
obedience to any law is offered gratuitously through 
Christ. This doctrine not unnaturally provoked fierce 



140 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

opposition. To some it seemed dangerous by its 
teaching that man can do nothing for himself ; others 
it offended by its contempt for their hereditary piety 
towards Jewish ordinances. The opposition called 
forth defence. Small treatises began to be written 
in support of its various points as they emerged. 
Such literary activity was the more necessary because 
Faulinism was already a theology, and not simply a 
religious preaching like that of the early disciples, for 
whom the spoken word might suffice. Accordingly, 
one wrote in defence of " justification by faith " 
(Bom. v.-viii.) ; another set himself to demonstrate 
that Jews and Greeks alike are under sin and alike 
are to be saved by receiving the Gospel of the grace 
of God (i. 16-iii. 81) ; another tried to show that 
Abraham is, indeed, the father of all the faithful, but 
that to descend from him according to the flesh 
signifies nothing (iv.) ; others wrote on the question 
of Israel's rejection (ix.-xi.). Others, again, took more 
interest in ethical problems, personal matters, and 
social intercourse (xii.-xiv.). 

Of these representatives of Paulinism some wrote 
for narrower, some for wider, groups. Those who 
came later used in various measure the work of their 
predecessors. Sometimes whole passages, sentences, 
or parts of sentences, were taken over unaltered into 
the text. Of this procedure we can best form a 
notion by considering the use made of the Old Testa- 
ment in the Epistle. Besides direct quotations, indi- 
cated as such by the author, we find, for example, in 
iii. 10-20 a series of verses from different contexts 
introduced by a simple "as it is written "; in other 
places we notice borrowing of words unaccompanied 
by any allusion to their source. In the case of 
1 Peter it has been observed that along with this 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 141 

kind of use of the Old Testament there goes similar 
use of Romans. The knowledge thus acquired of the 
way in which an Apostolic letter could be put together 
may be carried back and further applied to explain 
the composition of the Epistle to the Bomans itself. 
And just as verses from the Old Testament were 
sometimes freely modified, so we may conjecture 
that it has been with the incorporated fragments of 
earlier " Pauline " treatises or epistles. One expositor 
would incline more to the ** right," another more to- 
the " left," and each would adapt accordingly. 

The author of the work in its present form belongs 
to what may be called the ** right " — that is, to the 
more conservative or Jewish direction. His method 
is to place side by side with the most decided state- 
ments of the new doctrine expressions of profound 
respect for the law and for the privileges of IsraeL 
Not infrequently he says yes and no on the same 
page. We can now only just detect beneath hia 
redaction the conception which afterwards became 
distinctively Gnostic, that the God of the Jews is a 
lower power than the Father made known by the 
Gospel. There is in him already something of the 
catholic spirit. The history of the origin of our 
Epistle to the Bomans is, in fine, no other than that 
of the canon. When you have understood the latter 
as the bringing together and formal authorising of 
books that had sprung up in different circles and had 
somehow acquired vogue with the Christian public,, 
you have the key to the former also.^ The author or 

^ On the oanon of the New Testament, see Oudchristelijke Letter- 
kunde, Appendix. The canon, as is there pointed out, was essentially 
a growth. A book did not become " canonical " because the writer 
intended that it should ; nor yet by an arbitrary decree of the Church ; 
but gradually, through the influence of the leading minds in the: 



142 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

redactor of the Epistle took what already had 
<3arrenc7 within limited circles, and brought it together 
so that it might appeal to all sides within Paolinism ; 
his aim being to conciliate the parties that were 
tending to break with one another. Just so the 
Epistle was afterwards made part of a collection of 
Epistles, and this collection brought into union with 
other groups of writings in a larger whole. In 
accordance with the literary method customary in 
his social and religious environment, the author 
ascribed the work to the Apostle Paul himself. The 
Teal unity which in his conception pervaded the 
:apparently opposed statements of Paulinism was thus 
more impressively enforced than it could have been 
in any other way. The name of Paul was at once 
jOk covering shield, a watchword, and an introduction 
of the book to the reader. 

The adoption of the name of Paul has been explained 
as due to the fact that the movement really began 
irom Paul, though from his oral and not from his 
written teaching.^ This explanation, however, sup- 
poses a more rapid development of doctrine than is 
historically thinkable; and the evidence available does 
not support the conjecture. Bather we seem to find 

Ohristian oommanities. The declaration that certain books were to 
be held lor authoritative started from the *'left'* — because the 
innovators had need of written documents to appeal to when they 
-were opposed on the ground of "tradition." Not their texts, how- 
^ever, were finally adopted, but texts modified to conciliate the 
" right," and worked up in the interests of " Catholicity." Moreover, 
the canon was attached to that of the Old Testament, and subordi- 
nated to the tradition called Catholic. 

1 This is the view of Rudolf Steck {Der Oalaterhrief ncich iHner 
Echtheit untersucht, 1888). Steck appears to have been slightly in 
^advance of Van Manen — whose generous references to his colleague 
■are frequent — in decisively rejecting the Pauline authorship of all the 
JSpistles. 



WHENCE CAME THE EPISTLE ? 143 

evidence, even in the traditional data of the Epistles, 
for the opinion already expressed that Paal had not 
materially advanced beyond the position of the other 
disciples. According to the account in Galatians, the 
authorities at Jerusalem, on becoming acquainted with 
him, raised no objection to what he taught. Even 
the matter said to have been afterwards in dispute 
was only about the kind of intercourse with the 
heathen permitted to a bom Jew, and indicates no 
such deep -going modification of doctrine as is, for 
the rest, implied in Gal. i. 11, etc. To the strangers 
among whom he preached he gave milk and not solid 
food (1 Cor. iii. 2) — that is to say, his preaching was 
much simpler than the late " Pauline *' gospel.^ Ought 
we not to see here a reminiscence of the teaching of 
the actual Paul ? In a sense it could be said by those 
who put themselves under the protection of his name 
that he had laid the foundation (1 Cor. iii. 6~15) ; but 
it had been left for others to build upon it and to 
introduce the new " spiritual " Christianity. 

As a matter of fact, we know no more why Pauline 
Christianity was called after Paul than why Johan- 
nine Christianity was called after John. We can only 
guess; and the conjecture seems reasonable that it 
was because of something impressive in the far- 
extended activity of the travelling preacher. We 
have no right to assert that it was through any affinity 
of doctrine between Paul and Paulinism. 

The fatherland of the new direction was undoubtedly 
the East — more exactly, Syria. The choice of the 

1 C/. Heb. V. 12-14.— The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as 
Van Manen points out (Oudchrittelijke Letterkunde, p. 60), counts 
himself as belonging to a generation not earlier than the second (11. 3), 
yet speaks of his ** brother Timothy " (xlii. 23), with whom he hopes 
to see those he Is addressing. 



144 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

name of Paul points to this, for according to hia 
history, so far as we can trace it, the centre of hia 
apostolic activity was the Syrian Antioch. Syria is 
indicated also hy the use of the name Abba (Bom. 
viii. 15, Gal. iv. 6) ; of the expression fiapav aOcu 
(1 Cor. xvi. 22) ; of the proper name Cephas for 
Peter : but above all by the close relationship between 
Paolinism and Gnosticism. Of this relationship there 
is no doabt. The Pauline literature, as we have seen» 
was first brought into repute by the Gnostics, and 
when the Catholics, from Irenseus onward, began to 
prepare a place for " Paul " in the bosom of the 
Church, the Gnostics were still not to be outdone. 
Some of them imagined the Apostle as sitting on the 
right hand of Christ, with Marcion on the left ; while 
others held that he was the Paraclete announced in 
John XV. 26. Now, Christian Gnosticism appeared 
first in Syria. From the origin of Paulinism in the 
East, however, it does not follow that the Epistle to 
the Bomans received the finishing touches there. An 
older text may have been brought by the Gnostics 
from Syria to Bome, where it was perhaps modified 
in the sense desired by the Paulinists of the ** right.'* 
With or without further revision it passed, like many 
another writing and many a usage and doctrinal con- 
ception, from the hands of the Gnostics into those of 
the Catholics. 

5. — Justification op the Proposed Explanation. 

In the light of the foregoing explanation, the Epistle 
becomes more transparent — the whole, in spite of its 
obscurities, easier to understand. Many of the usual 
diflaculties vanish of themselves. We apprehend how 
it comes about that Paul seems to put himself on a 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 145 

pedestal, to regard himself as a high authority before 
whom friend and foe must bow, and how at the same 
time we fail to get any clear idea of his relation to his 
readers. It may be well, however, to add a few more 
points by way of confirmation. 

Pavl in Acts. 

We found in the Acts of the Apostles an authentic 
or historical Paul, a " Pauline" Paul, and a Paul who 
is on the way to become a Catholic Christian. The 
first is the Paul of the itinerary known as the ** we- 
narrative." He is a travelling preacher in the service 
of the Messianic principles of Peter and other disciples 
of Jesus. The second is a somewhat younger Paul, 
who has struck out a line of doctrine of his own, and 
has been made the hero of Acts devoted to him. The 
third stands for an attempt to combine the different 
features in a single portrait. Paul is again approxi- 
mated in date to the disciples ; but he has his own 
Gospel to advocate, and yet he teaches precisely what 
the other Apostles teach. We now see that the 
Pauline Paul is essentially identical with the Paul of 
the Epistles, though in the canonical Epistle to the 
Romans the transition to the Catholic portraiture may 
already be perceived. Thus there is no longer any- 
thing inexplicable in the legendary features of th# 
Apostle that appear in writings attributed to him, 
since, to those who wrote in his name, he was not the 
historical person, but the ideal figure of the Acts of 
Paul. We can explain also why the author of the 
Pauline Acta worked up by Luke into his own com- 
position made no use of the Epistles, which, on the 
assumption that they are genuine, would be inexplic- 
able. In reality, the Epistles came later than the first 
legendary narrative. 



146 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

The Younger Contemporary of Peter. 

According to the ordinary view, Paul was won for 
the new confession about three years after the imme- 
diate disciples of Jesus had begun to preach. How, 
then, does he come, at least seventeen years later, to 
ascribe such seniority to others in comparison with 
himself as we find presupposed in Gal. i. 17 (rove ^po 
ijULov awotTToXovg) and in the passages of Corinthians 
where he numbers himself among the last of the 
Apostles ? After that lenfgth of time a difference of 
three years would have seemed negligible. A much 
longer interval is presupposed by Marcion (Tert. adv. 
Marc. V. 1), who called him "a new disciple and not 
the hearer of anyone else," by a passage of the 
Muratorian fragment, where he is said to have followed 
the example of John (Rev. ii.-iii.) in writing letters to 
seven churches,^ and by certain "Nazarenes," who, 
according to Jerome, spoke of Paul as ^^novissimus 
Apostolorum omnium.'' If, however, the Paul of 
Paulinism was younger than the historical Paul, all 
this becomes explicable. In the legend he is naturally 
imagined as continuing during his whole life to call 
Peter and those of his group '^the Apostles before 
him." 

Oalilee and Jerusalem. 

The oldest tradition points to the assemblage of the 
disciples of Jesus, after his death, first in Galilee 
(Matt, xxviii. 7, 10, 16, 17, cf. xxvi. 82 ; Mark xvi. 7 ; 
John xxi.). We can follow in Luke xxiv. and John xx. 
the displacement of his appearances, assigned to these 
days, from Galilee to Jerusalem. The actual sequence 

1 John, according to ecclesiastical tradition, wrote the Apocalypse 
about 96. 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PBOPOSED EXPLANATION 147 

of events we may reasonably suppose to have been 
this : the formation of a community in Galilee ; exten- 
sion of activity to Jerusalem and establishment of a 
community there ; then finally such forgetfulness of 
the real order that Jerusalem could be held to have 
been the seat of the Apostles from the first. All this 
would take time. For the Paul of the Epistles, however, 
the community at Jerusalem is unquestionably the 
oldest. It has the priority in spiritual gifts. This 
tacit acceptance of a later tradition again betrays the 
writer who lived after Paul. 

The Old Testament. 

The historical Paul, according to the Tubingen 
school, had arrived at the doctrine called Paulinism, 
and, therefore, met with opposition from the Judaisers. 
He also wrote the principal Epistles. But those 
Epistles purport to be addressed to communities or 
persons who, coming from among the heathen, have 
accepted his form of doctrine. How, then, can he 
assume that they have the knowledge of the Old 
Testament which is necessary to follow his argu- 
ments ? Are we to suppose that he devoted himself 
first to giving them thorough instruction in that law 
which, according to his system, they were not to 
practise ? It is all unintelligible on the supposition 
that Paul himself wrote our Epistles. Suppose them 
written later, and the diflBculty vanishes. The then 
existing Christian communities consisted of persons 
who, whether Jews by birth or proselytes, were 
nourished on the Old Testament, and were thus in 
the mental atmosphere required for appreciation of 
the Pauline literature. The writers had the edifica- 
tion of such communities in view, and did not stop 
to consider that this could not have been the mei^ital 



148 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

atmosphere of Pauline Christians who had come over 
without intermediary process from heathenism. 

Agreement and Difference. 

The only hypothesis that satisfactorily explains the 
peculiar agreement in the style of the whole collection^ 
and at the same time the differences not merely between 
one Epistle and another, but between different parts 
of the same Epistle, is that which has been set forth 
— ^namely, that none were written by the Apostle 
Paul, but that all proceeded from one circle or 
'' school.'* To suppose a genuine Pauline basis gives 
no help and is unnecessary, as is shown by the cases 
of the Epistles attributed to Peter, James, John, 
Ignatius, and others.^ And the critics who maintain 
that there is such a basis are unable to agree even 
approximately in their statements as to its extent. 

Tlie History of the Apoatolate. 

Since the research of Seufert {Der Ursprung und 
die Bedeutung des Apostolates in der Chrisilichen Kirche 
der ersten zwei Jahrhunderte, 1887), it has been known 
that the name of Apostle was borne by itinerant 
preachers till about the middle of the second century, 
after which time its use in the wider sense dis- 
appeared ; and that this disappearance was in the 

1 For, of coarse, the critics who agree in rejecting these do not find 
it necessary to suppose that any fragments were written by the 
ostensible authors. The epistolary form as a literary fiction, Van 
Manen remarks {Oudchristelyjke Letterkunde, pp. 30-1), did not need 
to be invented by the Christian writers, since it had appeared already 
among Jews, Greeks, and Bomans. The edifying composition in the 
form of a letter is, however, a peculiarly Christian phenomenon. In 
the general class he places the Epistles of Clement to the Corinthians 
and of Polycarp to the Philippians, and the accounts of Polyoarp'ft 
martyrdom and of the martyrs at Vienne and Lyons. 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 149 

closest connexion with the strife over Paul's claim to 
be called an Apostle. Now, if our Epistles were 
written by Paul at the time ordinarily assigned,, we 
should have to suppose that the conception of the 
" Twelve Apostles " as a closed circle was already 
existent ; that the right of Paul to a name which was, 
nevertheless, freely accorded to all kinds of persons 
till long afterwards was passionately contested ; and 
that the cessation of '^ Apostles " from the middle of 
the second century was the consequence of a struggle 
carried on a hundred years earlier. If, on the other 
hand, the real as distinguished from the imaginary 
contest was between the Paulinists of the end of the 
first or the beginning of the second century and their 
opponents, the cessation of the name was its natural 
result, and the whole sequence becomes intelligible. 
The tradition that Jesus chose " twelve Apostles '* is 
legendary; it had at first a symbolical reference to 
the twelve tribes of Israel {cf. Rev. xxi. 14, Matt, 
xix. 28). When this notion of "the Twelve" first 
arose, it did not exclude other Apostles. Gradually, 
however, it fixed itself ; and, as the fixation became 
established, the enemies of Paulinism made use of it 
to contest the claim of the great Apostle to bear the 
name at all. Thus the title, in the wider sense, came to 
be disused ; and, though the Paulinists had no interest 
in facilitating the disuse, they could only maintain 
the claims of their own Apostle by acquiescing in it 
and finding the means of numbering Paul among 
"Apostles" in the narrower sense. The only 
Apostles properly so-called were henceforth " the 
Twelve " and Paul. 

The Revelation of John. 
Whatever may be the origin of the Apocalypse as a 



150 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

whole/ the opening and the conclusion, and of the 
opening especially cc. ii.-iii., bear marks of a later date. 
The communities addressed have evidently been in 
existence a considerable time, and have had a varied 
history. Now, it is precisely in these two chapters 
that we find unmistakeable traces of a hostile attitude 
to Pauline Christianity, The persons who call them- 
selves Apostles and are not (ii. 2) ; who call themselves 
Jews and are not (ii. 9, iii. 9) ; who teach to eat things 
sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication (ii.l4,20) 
— ^that is, no doubt, to marry within the prohibited 
degrees of the Jewish law; who have a mysterious 
doctrine of their own, which is alluded to as " knowing 
the depths of Satan " (ii. 24) — are evidently the 
authors or adherents of the teaching expounded from 
its own point of view in the Pauline Epistles. This 
teaching, then, being so sharply opposed in a late 
document, may be inferred to be not so old as is com- 
monly thought. Paul himself, it is true, does not 
seem to be attacked, though his name is not included 
among those who alone are recognised as Apostles in the 
special sense — namely, " the Twelve " (xxi. 14). What 
is opposed is the direction rather than the person. At 
the same time, while the author is no Paulinist, he is 
no narrow-minded " Jewish Christian," but includes 
along with the 144,000 sons of Israel who believe an 
innumerable multitude^ 'of all nations and kindreds 
and people and tongues " (vii. 9).^ He is, in fact, a 
^* disciple of Jesus," whose ideas have widened inde- 
pendently of the Pauline direction of thought.^ 

1 Van Manen assigns the completed work, which he regards as a 
literary unity, though not independent of pre-existent materialB, ta 
about 140. 

^ As is observed elsewhere {OudchrUtelijke Letterkunde, p. 95), 
there is no temple in the New Jerusalem (xxi. 22). 

> The Epistle of James (perhaps about 130) is referred to also 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 151 

The Fourth Gospel. 

The view that has been taken of the development of 
early Christianity derives support from the historical 
conception that may be found underlying the fourth 
Gospel. Jesus there repeatedly sets forth his claims 
as the Word made flesh, ^ the Son of God; yet the 
disciples, even those that have most insight, never 
really understand anything beyond his Messiahship. 
If Nathanael recognises him as the '' Son of God " 
(i. 50), this means only that he is the " King of 
Israel," the Messiah {cf. i. 46), not that he is the Son 
of God in the metaphysical sense first conceived by 
the Pauline school. Accordingly, he tells his disciples 
that after his departure the Paraclete will instruct 
them in the truth which they do not now comprehend 
(xv. 26). To the author of the Gospel the true history 
was evidently still known, though, in accordance with 
his method, he throws it all back into the time of 
Jesus and his disciples. In reality it was a later 
generation which — instructed, as was held, by the Holy 
Ghost — had come to look upon Jesus as the Son of 
God, the Incarnate Logos. And the writer shows his 
consciousness of this by the way in which he makes 
all the contemporaries of Jesus without exception fail 
to perceive his real character as a divine person. 

The Preaching of Peter. 

In the known fragments of the Preaching of Peter 
(Uirpov icnpvyiuLa) the name of Paul does not once 

{OudchrUtelijke Letterkunde, p. 64) as testifying to the existence of a 
Christianity which has known how to universalise itself without 
perceptibly undergoing the influence of *' Paul." The allusion there 
to the Pauline ideas and their danger, but not to the Bpistles, ia 
another indication of the comparative lateness of the Pauline develop- 
ment (see PauluSt Part III., Conclusion). 



152 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

occur, and there is no allusion to him. It is Peter 
who preaches Christianity as a universal religion. 
For the Tubingen school, with its antithesis of Pauline 
or universal and Petrine or Jewish Christianity, this 
is an embarrassing fact. From the point of view here 
set forth, it is additional confirmation of the late 
origin of Paulinism. We see that, at the beginning 
of the second century, the universalising movement 
was a drift not confined to one circle, and could go on 
without reference to Paul, and perhaps without know- 
ledge that elsewhere he was held to have been the 
father of the whole movement. So far as it aimed at 
setting Christianity free from the shackles of Judaism, 
Peter could equally well be made its apostolic repre- 
sentative. 

Philo. 

The writer or writers of the principal Epistles betray 
acquaintance with Philo, though the relation is by no 
means one of servile dependence.^ Philo was a man 
of advanced age in the year 40. Thus the dates do 
not exclude acquaintance of the historical Paul with 
his writings ; but they make it very improbable. The 
tent-maker of Tarsus, who had just received what he 
took to be a new revelation, and had zealously devoted 
himself to spreading it over the world, would scarcely 
find time to consult the recent works of the Jewish 
philosopher of Alexandria. And if we suppose him, 
before he became a Christian — that is, before 86 — to 

^ This point, it is noted, was made out by Carl Siegfried and Brono 
Bauer, to whom Steok {Der Galaterbrief, pp. 235-248) acknowledges 
his indebtedness. In Faulus, Part III. (Conclusion), Van Manen is 
able to add H. Vollmer (Die Alttestamentliehen Citate bet Paultu, 
1895, pp. 84-98), who, though accepting the genuineness of the prin- 
cipal Epistles as beyond doubt, finds even stronger reasons than his 
predecessors for thinking that they show knowledge of Philo. 



JUSTIFICATION OP THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 163 

have had the leisure to study those works so profoundly 
that he afterwards involuntarily reproduced their 
modes of thought and expression, the difficulty is only 
increased. Assume, on the other hand, that the 
Pauline writings are of later date, there is no difficulty. 
The works of Philo have had time to circulate and 
their ideas to become diffused, and so can have influ- 
enced " Paul," as it is admitted by many that they 
influenced the authors of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
and of the fourth Gospel. The influence was really 
exercised, not on men of practical missionary activity 
close to Philo's own time, but on religious thinkers 
among the developing Christian communities towards 
the end of the first or the beginning of the second 
century. 

Seneca. 

The affinity between Paul and Seneca is so striking 
that it even led to the fiction of a correspondence 
between them. The supposition that Seneca had read 
the Epistles of Paul is refuted by comparison of the 
dates of his works with that of Paul's arrival (according 
to the story) at Rome, up to which time he can have 
known nothing of him. That Paul knew works of 
Seneca is not absolutely excluded by the dates ; but 
as Seneca (born about 2, died 65) was some years 
younger than Philo, it is even more improbable that 
the Apostle had read the Roman than that he had read 
the Alexandrian philosopher. On the supposition of a 
later date for the writer, or writers, of the Pauline 
Epistles, there is, as before, no difficulty. 

J%L8tin. 

It is disputed by no one that Justin does not 
mention Paul and his Epistles, and never quotes from 
them literally. For him " the Twelve Apostles " are 



154 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOBIANS 

even symbolised by the twelve bells on the robe of 
the high priest (Ex. xxviii. 88-84). Yet on some 
points his views are exactly those of Paulinism, while 
on others he takes the opposite view. He condemned 
as unchristian the eating of the sacrificial meat of 
the heathen, though some of his contemporaries agreed 
with Paul in thinking it permissible. The usual 
explanation is that the Epistles had not yet become 
canonical; hence Justin could take his own view 
about the points discussed in them. Still, it ia.difficult 
to think of him as treating thus lightly documents he 
held to have been written a century before by an 
Apostle. And it is curious that we should find exactly 
those questions about Jewish customs which are said to 
have been the subject of vehement controversy in Paul'B 
time, still actual for Justin and his contemporaries. 
The obvious solution is that the Epistles date only 
from a little before Justin's time, and that he had 
read them or heard them read, but did not take them 
to be of Apostolic authorship. He and his frienda 
were universalising Christianity in their own way, 
independently of the Pauline influence. The deeper- 
going thought put forth under the name of the 
Apostle, while in some respects they agreed with it, 
was, on the whole, too strong for them. Whether on 
one line or the other, the transformation of a Jewish 
sect into a world-religion did not begin in the time of 
Paul, but had its origin in movements of thought and 
feeling certainly not earlier than the destruction of 
Jerusalem. 

Irenceus. 

Among the writers held for orthodox, Irenseus is 
the first of those whose writings have come down 
to us who treats the Epistles of Paul as canonical. 
This, however, is not out of any superabundance of 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 155- 

affection for the contents, but because he wishes to 
beat his Gnostic enemies with their own weapons* 
His aim is to prove that Paul's old friends, the 
Gnostics, have not understood him. The great 
Apostle must be " conveyed " from the " heretics " in 
the interests of the Catholic Church. Modern writers, 
however, have blamed Irenseus unjustly for failing 
to recognise the " historical glory " of Paul. In not 
assigning to him any special significance as compared 
with the older Apostles, he was simply adhering to the 
ordinary tradition of Christendom outside Gnostic 
circles. 

TertvUian. 

The attitude of TertuUian is similar. He recognises. 
Paul, but gives him no special place, in distinction 
from the Twelve, as " the great Apostle of the heathen." 
He knew that the Epistles did not originally belong 
to the circle of the communities esteemed orthodox ; 
but all the same he can turn to account the authority 
of "the Apostle of the heretics," as he does not scruple 
to call him {Adv. Marc, iii. 5), against those who 
first appealed to it. There is no reason whatever for 
accusing him of a deliberate falsification of history, 
with which, in our sense of the word, he is little 
concerned. On the "historical" side he reproduces 
the tradition current in his surroundings. On the 
doctrinal side he endeavours to show that Paul was at 
one with those who before him were divinely appointed 
to teach the true faith. Everything in his attitude, 
as in that of IrensBus, confirms the view that the 
Pauline writings arose outside of what became the 
orthodox Church tradition, but that that tradition 
found it convenient to appropriate them. And thia 
explains, for one thing, why they were made 
canonical at a later period than writings like the 



156 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

Gospels, which, on the ordinary modem theory, had 
appeared so long after them. 

The Clementines. 

In the Clementine HomUiae and Recognitiones, though 
the name of Paul does not occur, Paulinism is attacked. 
Paul, however, is not systematically caricatured as 
Simon Magus, who is the representative of the heretical 
gnosis generally. Only in one passage (flbm.,xvii. 19) 
does he come forward as if he were Paul, the author 
of the Epistle to the Galatians ; and that passage is 
quite isolated, and would seem to be either an inter- 
polation or an insertion made in the definitive edition 
of the Homilies. Paul's representative, ^' the man 
who is an enemy " (inimicus hom^, 6 ix^pog avdpcuTroc)^ 
is clearly distinguished from Simon, and is supposed 
to have come later ; and both have been preceded in 
their activity among the heathen by a preaching of 
the Gospel in the spirit of Peter. This order of events 
in the Clementine romance, so far as it goes, confirms 
the view that has been taken as to the subsequence of 
the Pauline doctrine to the teaching of the original 
** disciples of Jesus. "^ 

Peter and Paul at Rome. 

The legend has been put on record by Dionysius of 
Corinth (Euseb. H.E. ii. 25, 8), Irenseus, and a whole 
cloud of witnesses, that Peter and Paul jointly founded 
the Christian community at Rome. This does not 

^ Suspicions are expressed by Van Manen that the elaborate 
•development of the theory that Simon Magus was a caricature of the 
Apostle Paul is little more than a modem romance. It is an outwork 
of the special Tubingen position on the relations of Petrinism and 
Paulinism, and becomes unnecessary if that position is rejected, being 
otherwise not strongly supported by the documents. 



JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 157 

agree with earlier data, such as those of the Nevr 
Testament (Acts xxviii. 15, Rom. i. 10-18, xv. 22-24),. 
which exclude Paul almost expressly, and Peter tacitly^ 
as the founder. But what is the explanation of it ? 

An explanation that has found favour with modern 
criticism is that it was an invention of peace-loving; 
Catholics to cover over the actual strife that had 
existed between the two Apostles. This, however,, 
would have been a rather hopeless attempt ; for the- 
partisans to be reconciled could have made the obvious 
reply (in the absence of any previous tradition), "But 
neither Peter nor Paul did found the community." 
Besides, it would not have followed from their having 
been joint founders that they had always been good 
friends. We must bear in mind that legends, while 
they may and do grow out of what actually happened, 
are not deliberately thought out in order to throw a 
veil over events it is desired should be forgotten. 

The true historical kernel of the legend is no other 
than this, that at the time when it arose — that is, in 
the second half of the second century — the community 
at Rome could be described as in some sense based on 
" Peter and Paul." We must understand by the 
names, however, not the historical persons, but the 
two directions in which the Christian sect had been 
universalising itself. The legend personifies religious 
movements ; and, while representing them as born at 
the same time, it has unconsciously rescued from 
oblivion the true order of their appearance by always 
naming Peter before Paul. This order is preserved 
even when both are said to have been the founders of 
the community at Corinth, where we should expect 
Paul to come first. In the Epistles attributed to 
Clemens Romanus {1 Cor. v.) and to Ignatius (Rom. iv.), 
the same order is retained when the two Apostles are 



158 THE EPISTLE TO THE BOMANS 

mentioned. The fact here indicated is that the 
** disciples of Jesus " preceded the Faolinists, among 
the heathen as well as among the Jews. 

The Christmas Festival. 

Investigating the mode in which Christmas Day 
<5ame to be fixed, Usener (Religionsgeschichtliche 
Unterstichungen, I., 1889) has shown how the idea 
of the Son of God, and with it the observance of 
festival days to commemorate his successive mani- 
festations on earth, arose not in the circle of strictly 
Jewish thought, but through the Eastern gnosis in 
<5ontact with polytheistic mythologies. From the 
Onostics the Catholic Church appropriated the 
festivals, as it appropriated so much besides.^ This 
evidently supports the conclusion that Paulinism was 
of late and not purely Jewish origin. For the prin- 
cipal Epistles have a developed Christology. Usener, 
indeed, does not recognise this, but treats them in 
passing as not strongly developed in the Christological 
sense. If, however, the foregoing expositions of the 
Pauline Christology are sound; if the principal 
Epistles contain the doctrine of a supernatural Christ 
the Son of God, descended from heaven and become 
temporarily one with Jesus of Nazareth ; the admis- 
sion of their genuineness would overthrow his other- 
wise well-established conclusion that these ideas did 
not first arise in circles that were in close and original 
•contact with Judaism. The admission, on the con- 
trary, that they were not written by Paul the Jew 
would confirm at a critical point the result of Usener's 
investigations, as those investigations reciprocally 



^ Benan, in some remarks on (his procedure, notes the peculiar 
^combination of " eclecticism and ingratitude.'* 



JUSTIFICATION OP THE PROPOSED EXPLANATION 169 

confirm the conclusion arrived at with regard to the 
Epistles. 

The Development of Christicmity. 

It is among the enduring merits of Baur and his 
school that they made an end once for all of the tacit 
assumption that the Christianity of the first two or 
three centuries had no development ; that it was from 
the first what it afterwards became. Their formula, 
indeed — Petrinism and Paulinism in sharp opposition 
during the lifetime of the Apostles, and afterwards 
reconciled in Catholicism — did not give permanent 
satisfaction ; but the attempts since made to return 
to the traditional view have still more completely 
failed. What was needed was that more stages 
should be recognised, and that a longer time should 
be allowed for the development. These conditions 
are fulfilled if we place " Paulinism " considerably 
later than the teaching of the early disciples, Paul 
included. 

The disciples, whom we may associate with Peter, 
remained pious Jews. They were called " saints " or 
** holy ones," not in an ethical sense, but in the Old 
Israelitish sense of " consecrated to God." They 
taught " the things concerning Jesus," their crucified 
Master, whom they held to be the Messiah. It is thus 
quite intelligible — their difference from other Jews 
being so slight — that they hardly drew attention in 
their own time ; that they passed unnoticed, or almost 
unnoticed, not only by the Greek and Roman writers 
of those days, but even by a Jewish historian like 
Josephus. 

In the meantime, the great events in Judaea which 
ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, could not 
be without influence on them. Some disciples, no 



160 THE EPISTLB TO THE ROMANS 

doubt, were already less attached to the law than 
others ; and increased contact with the Grseco-Boman 
world must have accelerated the broadening move- 
ment, which, as we have seen, was not exclusively 
" Pauline." " Paulinism " sprang up — as the 
Johannine direction did later and probably in another 
circle — in close connexion with the germinating 
gnosis. It was a reform of a character so deep-going 
that it has the appearance rather of a new creation. 
Some reacted angrily against it. These we call the 
** Judaists." They are to be distinguished from the 
early " disciples," whose beliefs were of a more inde- 
terminate character. The moderate men who took 
up a balancing position between the extreme Paulinists 
and the extreme Judaists were those who succeeded 
in forming Catholic Christianity. The Judaisers who 
went too far received, as a reward for their zeal, a 
place as heretical "Ebionites." Finally, "Paul," 
after a period during which he was looked upon with 
suspicion, though not irrevocably condemned by the 
Catholics along with the heretical Gnostics inspired 
by him, could be received into the pantheon of the 
great men who, as pre-eminently "Apostles" — "the 
Twelve " with the addition of one — had been em- 
powered to lay down the law of faith and conduct for 
the present and future generations.^ 

1 It is interesting to observe how little, on this view, the method of 
the Church had changed between the second and the thirteenth 
century, when the newly-recovered Aristotelian writings, after being 
held at arm's length just as the " Pauline ** writings had been, were at 
last placed in that position of supreme authority over natural as 
distinguished from " revealed ** knowledge which made them for the 
Benaissance so unjustly, though inevitably, the type of intelleotoal 
oppression. 



THE ANTIQUITY OF THE BOOK 161 



6. — The Antiquity op the Book. 

Though the date of our Epistle cannot be precisely 
determined, we are in a position to mark out certain 
sharply-defined limits within which its origin must 
fall. It cannot be placed before the end of the first 
nor after the middle of the second century. The 
indications of past events and movements of opinion 
exclude an earlier period, while the references in 
extant writings of known authorship exclude a later. 
A somewhat more precise fixation of the date can be 
ventured with the help of what is known as to the 
use made of the Epistle by Basilides and Marcion. 
Basilides was active at Alexandria about 125 (or 130) ; 
Marcion first came forward at Rome about 138 ; and 
for both Paul was the Apostle. Putting these and 
other circumstances together, we may conclude that 
the Epistle was extant at the earliest of these dates — 
perhaps in a shorter form than the canonical — though 
it may not have been extant more than a few years. 
It did not necessarily take long for a writing to become 
authoritative for certain circles.^ The more exact 

^ Here is indicated what seems likely to be the criterion of date 
generally accepted for early Christian writings by the consensus of 
experts. In a note, Steck (Der GcUaterbrief, pp. 349-50) is quoted as 
adopting the position incidentally stated by Benan ; that, as a rule, 
we may know the date of composition of a writing of the kind with 
fair accuracy by the first traces of reference to it in ecclesiastical 
literature. A case in point for a later period is furnished by the 
writings attributed to ^* Dionysius the Areopagite.'* These are first 
quoted — and quoted as authoritative — early in the sixth century. By 
the test of their philosophical terminology, which is borrowed from 
the school of Proclus, they cannot be much earlier than the end of 
the fifth. Thus the test adopted by critical theologians is in this 
case verified by an independent one. In the case of Paul a similar 
verification may be found in what was said above on the use probably 
made of Philo and Seneca in the principal Epistles. 

M 



162 THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS 

limit, then, on this side for the undoubted existence of 
the Epistle being 125, we may date it approximately 
120. The pieces that were taken up into it may be 
ten to twenty years older .^ 



^ This, on the whole, represents the result of the disoassion of 
date, though I have not attempted to follow quite exactly the rather 
complex argument from the use of the Epistle by the Marcionites. 
The Pauline Epistles generally are assigned to the period between 120 
and 140. Compare Oudchristelijke Letter kundCf where approximate 
dates — not very far apart — are conjecturally given for all, Romans 
being regarded as the oldest. 



Part III. 

THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

Almost daily the stream increases of those who, while 
accepting the two Epistles to the Corinthians as 
ultimately Pauline in origin, cannot recognise true 
unity of composition in the extant texts, but split 
them up into letters and fragments of letters put 
together by editors. Others, to explain the want of 
unity, have recurred to the hypothesis of interpolations : 
J. W. Straatman, for example, in his Critical Studies 
on the first Epistle (1863-65), treated xi. 23-28 and 
XV. 3-11 as interpolations of the second century. A 
more radical criticism finds itself necessitated to deny 
altogether the Pauline origin of both Epistles. In 
the foregoing investigations on the Epistle to the 
Romans, points have already come into view which, 
taken strictly, decide in advance against their genuine- 
ness. A separate investigation, however, will not be 
superfluous. There remains the hope of contributing 
further to draw aside the veil behind which the history 
of the oldest Christianity is still too much accustomed 
to seclude itself. 



THE FIRST EPISTLE. 

1. — The Nature of the Work. 

Even apart from the title, there is no doubt that 
the writer of " the first Epistle of Paul to the 
Corinthians " meant his composition to have the form 
of a letter. A little examination shows, however, that 

163 



164 THE EPISTLES TO THE GOBINTHIANS 

the epistolary form, as in the case of Bomans, is merely 
external. The really general, as distinguished from 
the apparently particular, destination of the Epistle, 
comes out in the address: to the Church of God at 
Corinth '' with all that in every place call upon the 
name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours " 
(i. 2). And the contents for the most part consist of 
perfectly general admonitions. This is intelligible in 
what we call an " open letter,** but not in a letter as 
commonly understood, addressed to a local circle of 
readers, even when the writer is an Apostle. The 
more or less extensive dissertations of which the larger 
part of the work consists do not apparently start from 
casual suggestions. Only in one case do we find a 
formula to indicate that the author has been asked 
for his opinion on the topics discussed {wepi Si wv 
lypaxpare, vii. 1). In general he appears to be 
setting forth his positions without inducement of this 
kind ; and even the one exceptional case looks like 
conventional framework more than it impresses us 
with the reality of a correspondence between the 
Apostle and the Church. The Epistle has been 
described as a codification of rules of life for a Pauline 
community. Granted ; but that is precisely what we 
should expect in a book, not in a letter, especially 
from one who hopes to visit his correspondents shortly 
and to stay with them for some time. 

2. — The Unity of the Book. 

Notwithstanding the evidently composite character 
of the Epistle, abundantly made plain by critics, there 
is connexion between the parts. If that connexion 
is sometimes only by a particle (usually Sl)» ^Q 
particle is still there. The writer is more than a 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 165 

collector of scattered fragments. The celebration of 
love in c. xiii., for example, may seem strangely placed 
in the midst of a discussion of " spiritual gifts " 
having particular reference to" speaking with tongues "; 
yet it is fitly introduced (xii. 31), and the transition 
is duly made by which the interrupted discussion is 
resumed (xiv. 1). The style is throughout Eauline, as 
distinguished from Petrine, Johannine, or Synoptic. 
Moreover, the Epistle shows characteristic differences 
within the Pauline group — as, for example, the use of 
wepi to bring forward a topic (vii. 1, 25, viii. 1, 4, 
xii. 1, xvi. 1, 12) ; the only instance of a similar use 
in the principal Epistles being 2 Cor. ix. 1. Thus the 
book in its present form is, after all, a unity ; though 
allowance must, of course, be made, as nearly always 
with ancient texts, for possible interpolations or omis- 
sions of words, sentences, or longer passages. But 
this unity is only relative. The author — if we are to 
call him so — was at the same time a redactor. Older 
documents were before him from which he incor- 
porated selections ; or which he re-edited in a second 
or third edition. 

3. — Its Composition. 

A, — Traces of Juncture and Manipulation. 

So obvious is the composition of the Epistle out of 
essentially independent fragments that for critical 
students the choice may be said to lie between the 
hypothesis of redaction and that of an infinite series 
of interpolations. The pieces into which the whole 
may be primarily broken up are : i. 1-3 ; i. 4-9 ; 
i. 10-iii. 23 ; iv. ; v.-vi. ; vii. ; viii.-xi. 1 ; xi. 2-34 ; 
xii.-xiv. ; xv. ; jxvi. ^Within these, again, there are 
indications of the use of different sources as well as of 



166 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

the mutual adaptation of the parts. Among the more 
noteworthy points are the following. 

The double address — to the Corinthians and to all 
Christians — suggests a new edition of an Epistle first 
addressed simply to the Corinthians. The mention of 
Sosthenes (i. 1) was probably added in order to place 
by the side of the authoritative Paul a second witness 
to the truth, then often thought indispensable (cf. 
2 Cor. xiii. 1, Deut. xix. 15). As in Romans, the 
different formulsB for the name of Christ in the Epistle 
indicate different sources. 

The praise of the Corinthians in i. 4-9 does not 
agree with the serious blame afterwards expressed. 
The connexion in i. 10 {wapaKokC) St v/iac) is 
mechanical ; and the Catholicising expression (Sm rov 
dv6fiaTog rov Kvptov rifiiov 'I?j<tov Xpi<TTOv) betrays 
the hand of the redactor. The defective unity in the 
succeeding piece becomes noticeable when we compare 
i. 12, where there is mention of a special party of 
** Christ," with iii. 22-23, where only parties of Paul, 
Apollos, and Cephas are mentioned. In ii. 6-16 a 
higher wisdom of the Spirit is extolled ; whereas in 
the preceding verses " wisdom " is depreciated, and 
in those that follow Paul tells the Corinthians that he 
cannot yet address them as " spiritual " men. The 
introduction of the passage in this place is explicable 
only by supposing that the redactor was here bringing 
together what had reference to wisdom, though it 
might be in different senses of the term. The view that 
we have to deal with passages from different original 
sources is confirmed by the observation that the writer 
of ii. 6-16 speaks in the first person plural, while in 
the passages that go before and after the first person 
singular is used. 

In c. iv. a difference of tone may be perceived 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 167 

between verses 14-17 and 18-21. The substance of 
the chapter has little or nothing in common with the 
earlier part of the Epistle, as again the disquisition in 
cc. v.-vi. stands by itself, and is only connected in a 
strained and artificial manner with what goes before. 
The internal signs of the use of different sources are 
here especially numerous. To take one case : while 
in V. 12-13 God is to judge the world ("them that are 
without ") — with which the saints are not concerned — 
in vi. 2 it is the saints that are to judge the world. To 

the question of vi. 5 (oiic evi Iv v/mv oiSctc (to^oc ;) 

the writer of i. 26 {cf. iii. 1-3) ought to have given, not 
the assumed affirmative, but a decidedly negative answer. 
Examination of the succeeding sections leads con- 
stantly to the same recognition that the various 
discussions are connected only by an external bond, 
and that internally they show signs of redaction. 
Thus it is with the double discussion of married and 
unmarried life (vii. 1-16, 25-40). And, in the dis- 
sertation on eating meat offered to idols, contrast 
for example x. 14-22 (especially x. 21, oi Svvadfo 
TTorripiov Kvpiov iriveiv Koi irorripiov Sai/jLovtcjVy oi 
Svvafrde rpairiZrig Kvptov jJUEri^uv kcli Tpairitt^q 
SaijULoviwv) with the general drift of the preceding 
argument. First, all Pauline Christians know that 
eating things offered to heathen divinities has no 
real significance and is in itself blameless; but 
the " weak,'* who think otherwise, ought not to be 
offended (viii. 1-13). In the passage just cited those 
divinities have become actual " demons ": to partake 
of what has been offered to them is flat idolatry. 
Then, in the next succeeding passage (x. 23-xi. 1), 
the old position is restated, that all things are permis- 
sible, but not all things are expedient, and practical 
directions are given accordingly. 



168 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

The continuity of these disquisitions, again, is 
broken by matter arbitrarily brought into relation 
with the rest. Note, for example, vii. 17-24, ix. (with 
the minor insertion of verses 24-27), x. 1-13. And 
yet, as has been said, points of contact may be found, 
which prove composition as distinguished from mere 
juxtaposition of fragments. The verses ix. 19-23 are 
in support of the main argument beginning with 
viii. 1-13, rather than of what has been said just 
before in the interposed vindication of Paul's oflBice as 
an Apostle. 

The way in which expressions taken over from one 
writer are corrected by another may be seen in com- 
paring xi. 7-8, where the superiority of man to woman 
is asserted, with xi. 11-12, where the two sexes are 
placed on an equality from the religious point of view. 
The passage on the eucharist in the same chapter is 
quite irrelevant to the context, and is not even itself a 
unity. In verses 23-25 the partaking of the bread 
and wine is said to be a commemoration of the death 
of the Lord ; in 27-29 it is said to be a partaking of 
his body and blood (c/. x. 16). Verse 26, in spite of 
the 70/0, stands by itself ; similarly the next verse, in 
spite of the ficrre. Not before verses 33-34 does the 
writer return to the discussion, with which he began 
at verse 17, of the contentions among those who 
assemble at the love-feasts. The whole gives the 
impression of being a collection of remarks from 
various sources, intended to drive the love-feasts into 
the background because of their irregularities, and to 
bring forward instead the celebration of the com- 
munion.^ The process of composition is incidentally 

^ In these obscure problems of Christian ritual and myth — made 
doubly obscure by the later application of logic — an attempt has to be 
made to penetrate through the actual syncretism of the documents to 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 169 

brought to light by the strange justification offered in 
verse 19 for the author's belief, stated in the previous 
verse, that accusations of unseemly contentions at 
feasts are not without ground : Set yap koX alpitni^ 
ecvai, iva oi SofCf/tio< (j^avepol yivtovrai ev v/uv. 
The " divisions " (called (Tx^tTjULaTa) spoken of in one 
document he confuses, by a verbal association, with 
party-divisions or " schisms " (cf. i. 10) ; then he 
brings in from somewhere else the expression, here 
out of place, about sects or ** heresies." 

In the next series of chapters (xii.-xiv.) a new 
subject comes forward — namely, that of "spiritual 
gifts." Here the direction — which has nothing to do 
with the context — that women are not to speak in the 
churches (xiv. 33b-36) is at variance with what is 
presupposed in the foregoing discussion (xi. 2-15) 
regarding their head-dress when praying or prophe- 
sying (see especially verse 5). This is evidence, 
however, not of interpolation, but of the presence of 
the same "author-redactor" with his customary 
" give and take." It shows the diligent use made of 
pre-existing documents. The fine passage on love 
(c. xiii.), though it stands apart from the rest, is, as has 
been said, no mere loose insertion ; nor has it been 
taken over unaltered from one source ; it bears marks 
of artificial juncture within as without. We seek in 
vain for any connexion of thought between verses 
11-13 and 1-10; there is merely a verbal echo 

ideas that may conceivably have been those of individoal minds 
before the whole complex fabric was imposed by authority. The New 
Testament writers represent the first stages of Christian reflection on 
adapted mythologies and imitated colts. In patristic and scholastic 
theology the apparently irreconcilable elements contributed from all 
sides were brought formally into union by taking logical distinctions ; 
the rite, the myth, and the reflection being alike accepted as super- 
natural data instead of natural growths. 



170 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

{KarapyridiifTiTai, 10; KarfipyriKa, 11). Thus the chapter, 
like the book, appears as an imperfect unity when 
contrasted with the freely wrought-out composition of 
an individual author. 

The same view applies also to chapter xv. There 
is no need to regard verses 3-11 (or 1-11) as an inter- 
polation, though undoubtedly the contents are out of 
harmony with what follows. The first passage may 
be described as an appeal to tradition in support of 
the resurrection ; the second (12-58) argues the case 
apart from that appeal. This description, however, 
refers only to the general drift of the argument. 
Neither passage is a well-rounded whole in itself. In 
the first, what is said about the appearance to Paul in 
particular can hardly have belonged to the common 
tradition. And we detect the process of expansion in 
comparing verse 5 (elra role Sci&ico) with 7 (cIto rote 
aTTOfTToXoic Tra<Tiv). In the second passage, eschato- 
logical ideas resembling those of the Apocalypse 
are mixed up with the less " Jewish-Christian " view 
implied in the argument for a " spiritual " resurrec- 
tion. Among minor discontinuities may be noted the 
insertion of verses 33-34 (with the quotation from 
Menander), which strangely interrupt the course of 
the demonstration. 

As the chapter on the resurrection has nothing to do 
with that which precedes, so, too, the concluding chapter 
stands by itself. Against the view that the whole of 
chapter xv. is an interpolation (from another Epistle, 
as has been conjectured), it may be observed, however, 
that chapter xvi. has just as little to do with chapter 
xiv. (with which, on this view, it ought to be connected). 
The miscellaneous topics of chapter xvi. are appropriate 
enough in themselves for the conclusion of a letter, 
but exact scrutiny reveals not a few difficulties. Verses 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 171 

8-9 give a different impression of the Apostle's experi- 
ences at Ephesus from that which we get from xv. 32. 
According to iv. 17, Timothy has already been sent ; 
according to xvi. 10, his arrival is to be expected after 
the reception of the letter. From xvi. 12, ApoUos 
would seem to have his sphere of activity in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Paul ; in iii. 4, 6, we hear 
of him as an independent worker coming after Paul. 
The curse which immediately precedes the close (el 
Tig oif (jiiXei Tov Kvpiov, fjTCj avadejia, Xvi. 22) is in 
harmony neither with the friendly tone of the conclu- 
sion nor with the contents of the Epistle generally. 

B. — Witnesses for the Existence of a Shorter Epistle. 

Traces of manipulation being so numerous, the 
question naturally arises, Is there any evidence that a 
shorter form of the Epistle preceded the canonical 
form? In the records of Christian antiquity, only 
Clement of Eome^ and Marcion offer anything that bears 
on the point. Clement (1 Cor. xlvii.) refers his readers 
to what Paul wrote about parties among them; which, 
he says, were not so scandalous as those of the present 
day, since in the earlier time men chose for their 
party-badge the name of a renowned Apostle, Peter or 
Paul, or of one who, like ApoUos, was in high repute 
with the Apostles. The noteworthy point here is that 
Clement does not mention the party calling itself after 
Christ ; and the omission can hardly have been 
deliberate, for this would have furnished him with a 
still stronger argument. So far as Clement's testimony 

^ Van Manen places the first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 
about the year 140. (See Oudchristelijke Letterkunde, p. 78.) The 
authorship he finds to be completely indeterminate. Clement as 
bishop, ** be he the first, second, or third after Peter, cannot subsist in 
face of the discovery that before Anicetus (156-166 ?) the community 
at Home had no monarchical government " (ihid,^ p. 77). 



172 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

goes, it is in favour of the existence of an earlier 
form of the Epistle ; as is also the omission of reference 
to the party of Christ in a corresponding citation by 
pseado-Origen against the Marcionites. It is not 
certain, however, that this is from Marcion's text. 
And, though other references to Marcion tend slightly 
to confirm the view that he read the Epistle in an 
earlier edition, the differences between this and the 
later form would seem to have amounted to very little. 
Thus on the whole the external testimony does not 
carry us far. 

C. — Conclusion. 

The hypothesis of ''composition," as opposed to that 
of " interpolation," does not necessarily mean that the 
Epistle was arbitrarily put together out of discrepant 
fragments. How a relative independence of the 
writer is consistent with it may be seen by considering 
the use made of the Hebrew Scriptures in the Epistle. 
Over and above passages in which the writer has 
clearly had words of the Old Testament in view, many 
cases are to be found of textual or almost textual 
reproduction.^ In the passages here referred to there 
is not the slightest indication of the actual source or 
of any source. If we did not possess the text of the 
Old Testament, there would be no means of proving 
that they do not belong originally to the author of the 
Epistle. A somewhat similar use of early Christian 

1 The foUowing parallel passages are given:—! Cor. v. 13b, 
Deut. xvii. 7 {xal i^apeU rb^ vo¥iip6v i^ iffiQf a^wr) ; x. 20, Deut. 
xxxii. 17 (^^wcroj' Soufioploii, xal oC 0€<f); x. 26, Ps. xxiv. 1 (roO Kvplov 
il yrj xal t6 trMputfia aOTrjs); xiv. 25b, Zech. viu. 23 («ti 6 debs /Ae0' 
vfiQ^ 4ffTi¥); XV. 25, Ps. ex. 1 (l«j &,¥ OQ roifs ix^poi^ <rov (nrw^iw TOf 
iroSQ^ ffov); XV. 27, Ps. viii. 7 (xdi^Ta inrira^s {nroxdrw rtiw irodQtf 
airrov); xv. 32b, Is. xxii. 13b {<pdyia/iey koX vlvfu^, aHptov yikp 
dwoOyfiffKOfAcy). 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 173 

documents by a redactor is thus rendered conceivable.^ 
On the other hand, the continuity of the Epistle is 
too great to allow of the supposition that it was put 
together from fragments of actual apostolic letters.^ 
The differences of content between the parts being, in 
spite of this continuity, greater than is conceivable if 
they proceeded originally from one mind, the only 
hypothesis that really satisfies the conditions is that 
of the " author-redactor," working on written docu- 
ments in the manner of those who gave form to the 
Synoptic Gospels. For the view that our canonical 
Epistle is a second edition, the following grounds may 
be assigned : The double address ; the use of different 
names for Jesus Christ ; the mention in one place 
(i. 12), but not in the corresponding passages, of a 
party calling itself that of Christ ; the remark about 
the household of Stephanas in i. 16, which confuses 
the sense, and seems to have had its origin in acquaint- 
ance of an editor with xvi. 15. The main hypothesis, 
however, applies to the first edition also, which must 
have contained substantially all the dissertations 
composing the Epistle in its present form. 

1 Previous critics, as is mentioned in the analysis of chapter xv., 
have detected in verses 42b, 43 the lines of an ancient Christian hymn. 
In Van Manen*s view, of coarse, they are wrong in inferring an 
interpolation in the ordinary sense. 

^ May we not add that, were such the case, we should expect to find 
emerging among the critics who take this view a consensus similar to 
that which has gradually been arrived at in the case of Aristotle's 
Politict f Here the general lines of reform were evident as soon as 
the logical discontinuity of the order imposed by the ancient editors 
had been perceived ; and now Aristotelian scholars, while differing to 
some extent about the details of reconstruction, agree in accepting 
the reformed order of the books. The paraUel, of course, must not be 
pressed, too far ; since the editors of an ancient philosopher, while they 
might make mistakes, worked in a spirit much more easily compre- 
hensible by modem Europeans than was possible for the redactors of 
documents meant to pass as saored. 



174 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 



4. — Whence Game the Epistle? 

A. — Significance of the Preceding Inveitigation. 

As was said in the case of Bomans, it is not in the 
abstract impossible that Paul himself should have put 
together a composition of the kind under the external 
form of a letter ; but it will hardly be maintained that 
this is a probable hypothesis. Equally improbable 
is it, in spite of the interpretation put by many on 
2 Thess. ii. 2, that any one else wrote this or any 
other Epistle in Paul's name during his lifetime. 
Still, as in the former case, it seems desirable to 
examine the question again from the beginning, as if 
the analysis had not already in effect proved that the 
Epistle cannot have proceeded from Paul, and that it 
belongs to a later time. 

J5. — Improbability of the Tradition. 

Superficially, there seems to be nothing against the 
accepted tradition that the Apostle, having founded a 
Christian community at Corinth in 52 or 53 during a 
residence there of about a year and a half (Acts xviii. 
1-18), wrote a letter from Ephesus to his Corinthian 
converts about three and a half years after leaving 
them — that is, in 57 or 58. Yet it is in entire contradic- 
tion to the spirit of this tradition that we should have 
before us, as the ** First Epistle to the Corinthians,*' 
an authoritative document intended in great part not 
for a particular community, but for a wider circle of 
readers. Can any one find it probable that Paul, the 
tent-maker and travelling preacher, should in this 
short time, and amid all his pre-occupations, have 
been able to lay down the lines of the Christian life 
so broadly and deeply that his letters could serve as 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 176 

text-books, not only for the particular community to 
which they were addressed, but for all other Christian 
communities wherever they might be?^ As we descend 
to details, the improbabilities become ever more 
striking. 

The Occasion of the Writing. 

What was the particular inducement to write the 
letter ? The reports of certain persons described in i. 11 
as o£ XXoijc ? Or the rumour mentioned in v. 1 ? Or 
the letter referred to in vii. 1 ? Or the arrival of the 
triumvirate spoken of in xvi. 17 ? If all of these 
came into account, what was the relation of the subor- 
dinate reasons to the determining one ? Critics who 
accept the Pauline authorship can only set up discor- 
dant hypotheses. A special diflBculty is raised by 
chapter v., where Paul is represented as condemning 
on a mere report, and in his absence, a person whose 
life apparently is at stake (v. 5) f and this although he 
expects to visit Corinth himself speedily. If, however, 

^ The paradox becomes greater when we are reminded of the apoca- 
lyptic expectations of the early Christians. According to the ordinary 
critical view, letters hastily written by men who were expecting the 
second coming of the Lord and the end of the world in the course of a 
few years, happening to be preserved by pious disciples, were found to 
contain such practical wisdom that they could serve as the basis of a 
world-wide organisation of which their authors had never dreamed. 
The paradox disappears when we recognise that those who drew up 
Epistles in the names of Peter and Paul were consciously elaborating 
the foundations of a new order set against that of the Boman world- 
State. The apocalyptic passages are part of the syncretism of floating 
myth and legend, and are worked up in such a way as to postpone 
the old expectations indefinitely. 

'^ According to Van Manen, the delivery to Satan for the destruc- 
tion of the flesh (xa/>adoGi'ai rbv roioxnov rfj; aaropq. els SKeOpov ttjs 
ffapKii) was a major excommunication involving a death-sentence. 
The circumstances were, of course, imaginary, and signify only the 
ideal claim of the theocracy transferred to the legendary past when 
its miraculous powers were wielded by Peter (c/. Acts v.) or by Paul. 



176 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

we look upon the epistolary form as a fiction, all 
becomes transparent. The vagueness of the indica- 
tions, and the apparent precipitancy of the Apostle's 
judgment, cease to offer any difficulty. We are no 
longer perplexed by his writing at such length on 
points of discipline at a time when he is hoping to 
return, and when he has just sent his pupil Timothy 
to repeat his instructions. At most we see a fault in 
the form of the pseudepigraphon. 

The Relation between Paul and the Corinthians. 

How are we to reconcile the assurances of i. 5-7 
about the riches of the Corinthians in Christ (Srt 
iv Travrt tTrXovrladtfTe iv avTt^, iv iravri Xay<j» icai 

Tracry yviljaei, locm vjxag jxri vcmpHtrOai Iv /LCf^Scvi 

Xapi(T/iaTi) with reproaches such as that of iii. 8, 
that they are carnal and walk after the manner of man 
{aapKiKoi i<TTe icat Kara avOpiiJirov ireptiraTeiTe) ? In one 
passage they are babes to be fed with milk ; in another 
the Apostle sets before them the wisdom that is spoken 
among the perfect. This alternation, which runs 
through the Epistle, makes it impossible to form any 
determinate idea of the relation between Paul as the 
writer and the Corinthians as readers. Parties have 
arisen ; only one party calls itself after Paul ; and yet 
he seems to take it for granted that all will be willing 
to listen to him. Some are ** puffed up," and raise 
themselves above " the Apostles," from whom they 
have received everything. If this is their state of 
mind, how can Paul expect a good result from the 
anything but modest-sounding exhortation of iv. 16-17 

ifn/ii)Ta{ jiov ylvecrde eire/ixpa vjuuv Ti/iodeov og vjxaQ 

avapvyitru rag oSouc l^ov Tag Iv XpicTTif)? Some think 
he will not return . This seems strange after an absence 
of only three years and a half. And in any case why 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 177 

should they fear the threat of his return — " with a 
rod," as it is put almost childishly in verse 21 ? There 
is no suggestion elsewhere in the Epistle that Paul's 
bodily presence was such as to excite this terror ; and 
compare 2 Cor. x. 10. Why, again, does he insist so 
strongly on his right to live at the expense of the 
community and to marry if he chooses ? It does not 
appear that any one has contested his right ; and he 
has no intention of exercising it. Contrast, again, 
the tone of self-exaltation in some passages, such as 
xi. 1, where he seems to regard himself as a mediator 
between Christ and ordinary men, with the extreme 
modesty of others, such as vii. 40 (SoiccJ Si Kayto Trvevfia 
deov €X€cv), where he merely claims the freedom 
to express his own opinion along with the rest. We 
no more understand the attitude of the community to 
him than his to the community. After so short a 
time, his converts have split into parties. Some have 
lost their belief in the resurrection of the dead (xv. 12) . 
Even those who call themselves after Paul are not to 
be regarded as faithful disciples, since they are severely 
chidden precisely for their use of his name (i. 13-17, 
iii. 4-9, 22-23). 

All this is explicable only by assuming a wide gap 
between the time of Paul and the composition of the 
Epistle. We now understand how it comes about that 
the supposed writer is no tangible figure, but an image 
of the ideal Apostle, praising and blaming, encouraging 
and setting to rights — a recognised authority whose 
word must everywhere pass for law (cf. vii. 17, ovtwq 
Iv TOig iKickriaiaig waaaig Smracrao/uai, with the similar 
expressions in xi. 34, xvi. 1). The glorification of 
Paul no longer troubles us. We see it as we have 
long seen the declarations of the Johannine Christ : 
" I am the bread of life, the light of the world, the 

N 



178 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

good shepherd." The question why Paul, on receiving 
the disquieting news about his spiritual children at 
Corinth, did not immediately hasten thither, is as 
little enigmatical as the opinion of those who were 
puffed up that he would not " come." At the time 
when the Epistle was written there could be no 
question of any coming again. Paul was no longer 
among the living. 

The Community. 

According to the ordinary view, the community 
consisted, at any rate chiefly, of ** heathen Christians." 
And, indeed, the writer often seems to be addressing 
himself exclusively to such {e.g., xii. 2, 8tb Wvii i}rc). 
Contrary to the Jewish custom, men are to pray with 
uncovered heads (xi. 4). Yet from other places a part 
may be inferred to have been Jews at their calling and 
a part non-Jews (vii. 18, 20). The permission to eat 
what is sold in the market seems intended for Jewish 
Christians. Familiarity with the Old Testament and 
with the history of Israel, such as could not be 
possessed by new converts from heathenism, is assumed 
throughout. Are we, then, to suppose that the com- 
munity was mixed ? In that case, how does it come 
about that in a letter directing itself to all alike 
{e.g., X. 14) now one part exclusively seems to be 
addressed and now the other ? And, in the reading 
of the Epistle to the whole community, what impres- 
sion would have been made on the " weak " by the 
bitter-sweet tone in which the ** strong," the men 
of ** knowledge," are advised to have patience with 
them ? Would they not have felt wounded ? The 
effect must have been quite other than that which 
was intended by the Apostle. In a book written at 
a later date, the admonition presents no dificulty. 
The treatise was put into no one's hands as a letter. 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 179 

Any one who was of the " weak " and read it may 
have shaken his head and sighed; bnt he could take 
no offence, since evidently the passages in question 
were not addressed to him personally. 

Parties. 

Nothing tangible can be made out about the parties 
referred to, be they two (iii. 4-5), three (iii. 22-23), or 
four (i. 12) ; though the attempts of critics are endless. 
It appears that the factions had not actually broken up 
the community, since the Epistle is addressed to all its 
members, and their meeting together is presumed. Yet 
compare the question in i. 13 (fufiipiaraio Xpiaroc;).^ 
There is no suggestion of doctrinal difference between 
Paul and Apollos, who are on the best of terms, nor yet 
between Paul and Cephas, who is cited as the principal 
witness for the resurrection. He and Paul and the 
rest teach the same thing (eire ovv iytj aire bkeivoi^ 
ovTojg KTipvaaofiEVy Koi oSroic lirtcrrcvaaTC, XV. 11). No 
trace is to be found of a Jewish Christian party at 
the head of which stands Peter. Nor do we learn why 
his party at Corinth — whatever it may have been — 
chose the Syrian name Kii^ac in preference to the 
Greek nirpoQ. 

The true explanation is that the parties were not 
historical ; or at least were not of the place and time 
to which they are assigned. The author himself does 
not treat their existence as serious. He merely 
wishes to point a moral against parties in his own 
age. Clement of Rome bad a perception of this 
— not that he had any intention of throwing doubt on 
the historical character of the datum — ^when he said 



^ If the words are read wiihoat the note of interrogation, the point 
Ib, of coarse, the same. 



180 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

that Paul wrote to the Corinthians about himself and 
Cephas and ApoUos " spiritually" (Trvcvfiarticoic)- In 
fact, the writer himself tells us his aim as clearly as is 
possible in a pseudepigraphic work (raura Si, aScX^of, 
fUTefTxtifiaTKra elg ifiawbv Koi 'AttoXXcov Si vfiag, ?va iv 
miv fiadrire ic.t.X., iv. 6). In accordance with his 
catholicising temper, he tries to make it appear that 
party-names among Christians had been assumed 
without real grounds. 

Opponents. 

The usual view is that the opponents of Paul in this 
as in other Epistles are Jewish Christians; yet no 
sign of it appears in the Epistle itself. The *' weak 
brethren " who are scrupulous about eating the sacri- 
ficial meat of the heathen are taken under the Apostle's 
protection against the more advanced. In the passage 
on ** strifes " (i. 10-iii. 28) he directs his reproofs, not 
against any particular party, but against the forma- 
tion of parties in general. That which is named after 
himself he blames as much as the rest. If such 
opposition to the Judaisers as we find in Galatians is 
the test of " genuineness," then our first Epistle to 
the Corinthians is not genuinely Pauline. It is here 
the Judaising party that has need of toleration. The 
opponents spoken of in ix. 1-18, who contest Paul's 
right to the privileges of an Apostle, do not present 
themselves as members of the Christian community at 
Corinth, but as outsiders (see especially ix. 2). Unin- 
telligible from the point of view of tradition, this 
passage has a meaning plain enough in itself. It is 
not a defence of the Apostle's rights — which he does 
not mean to exercise — by himself before his recent 
converts, but a vindication of those who regarded 
themselves as his successors against some who, in a 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 181 

later age, were refusing to admit that he had really 
been an Apostle. This fully explains the warmth of 
tone. The only opponents distinctly in view within 
the community — if we are to call " opponents" those 
whose line of thought is disapproved — are no lagging 
Judaisers, but Paulinists of the extreme left — ^men 
who, in the opinion of the author, go too far in his 
own direction, who arrogate to themselves too much 
liberty, who fancy themselves superior to their 
teachers. The existence of such opponents is simply 
inconceivable in a newly-formed community consist- 
ing of insignificant people (i. 26-28) in the time of 
the actual Paul. 

(7. — Indications of a Later Time. 

Paid a Power. 

At the time when the Epistle was written, Paul's 
career could be looked back upon as a completed 
whole. He has planted, another has watered (iii. 6). 
He has laid the foundation as a wise master-builder ; 
another builds thereon (iii. 10). He and his fellow 
Apostles have been made a spectacle to the world and 
to angels and men (iv. 9). In these and in other 
passages we are on the threshold of legend. Paul has 
fought with wild beasts at Ephesus (xv. 32). Now, 
rescue from the amphitheatre, if this adventure had 
been real, would have been no easy matter. The 
image of the Apostle is held up as a model of life and 
faith in all respects. He already stands so high 
that he can threaten with his coming (iv. 19-21) ; 
can make his spirit act at a distance (v. 8) ; can 
deliver sinners to Satan (v. 5) ; and can bless men 
with his love next after the grace of Jesus Christ 
(xvi. 24). 



183 THE EPISTLES TO THE C0BINTHIAN8 

The Community no longer Yowng. 

With the passages insisting on the spiritually 
undeveloped state of the community, others are in 
contrast where the possession of knowledge (yvcSacc) 
is assumed and difficult questions of conduct are 
discussed. The community no longer consists, as at 
first, almost wholly of people who are of no account 
in the world ; since it is now necessary to lay down 
the rule that all — slaves and free, and so forth — are to 
remain in the station in which they were called 
(vii. 21-24). Those who were formerly heathens 
have had time to become familiar with the contents 
of the Old Testament. The community has its 
traditions (rac ira/oaSoaccc)) imparted, as appears, 
a long time ago (xi. 2, 23, xv. 3). The custom 
is that it should support its spiritual leaders and 
their families. This right needs vindicating, not 
as the general rule, but as an application of the rule 
to those Pauline teachers whom some would exclude 
from its benefit. A whole series of recognised func- 
tions is performed by different persons (xii. 28-80), 
submission to whom is insisted on (xvi. 16). There 
are religious services in which the members take 
various parts (xiv. 6, 26), and in which abuses have 
arisen that need setting in order. A regular discipline 
has become necessary. The distinction is known 
between a major and a minor excommunication. In 
the case of the first (v. 5), we can scarcely think of 
anything but a death-sentence. The second (v. 9) 
consists in exclusion from the society of the faithful. 
Christianity has won for itself a place in the world, 
so that the relations of its members to those outside 
have to be regulated (vi. 1-11). They form a new 
people, "Israel after the spirit" {cf. x. 18). 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 183 

Doctrinal Utterances. 

Although in oar Epistle doctrinal expressions do 
not come into the foreground, they are numerous 
enough to prove that, like the Epistle to the Romans, 
it belongs to a later time than that of Paul. Chris- 
tianity is no longer a Jewish sect, but an independent 
confession, standing over against those of Jews and 
Greeks. It expects justification neither from obedi- 
ence to the law nor from a conscience void of reproach 
(iv. 4). It knows no righteousness, no sanctification, 
no redemption but in " Christ Jesus " (i. 80). Nothing 
of this is attainable by personal effort. The Christian 
receives all by grace through faith. Before the 
imparting of faith goes the preaching of the word 
of the Cross, of the *' Gospel of Christ" — that is, the 
glad tidings concerning Christ. But not in this 
sense, that faith is dependent on men. He who 
proclaims the Gospel does it " in Christ " (iv. 15), and 
cannot escape the necessity imposed on him (ix. 16). 
One point and another may be borrowed from tradi- 
tion (xi. 23, XV. 3) ; but, on the whole, the system 
has been made known by divine revelation to those 
who preach and receive it; as, indeed, continual 
revelations may be counted on (xii. 7, xiv. 6, 26). 
The organ of these revelations is the Spirit, which 
searches all things, even the depths of God (ii. 10). 
Believers are spiritual men (7rv6VftarifcoO» and as 
such can judge of spiritual things, which natural 
men (;/fi;x<fcoi avOpiOTroi) cannot know. The Spirit 
of God, or the Holy Ghost, dwells in them (iii. 16, 
etc.). 

Points of contact with Gnosticism have already 
come into view in the discussion on Romans. In 
the present world, as we saw, not God, but other 



184 THE EPISTLES TO THE GOBINTHIANS 

powers — "the rulers of this world" (ii. 6, 8), Satan 
(v. 5, vii. 5), death (xv. 26) — exercise the dominion. 
Men in general and man's wisdom are opposed to 
God (i. 25, ii. 5). The supreme God is the God of 
the Christians, who are the new Israel, in distinction 
from the old " Israel after the flesh "; and only for 
the sake of their deliverance is he concerned with 
this world. He calls to the fellowship of his Son 
(i. 9) according to his good pleasure {BvSSicntnv 6 0€&c 

(riiaai rovg Triarevovragy i. 21) Jews and Greeks, 

slaves and free. Ere long he will bring the rulers of 
the world to nought and give the victory to his own 
through Christ ; and not till then shall God be in the 
full sense " all in all '' (xv. 28).. 

Jesus is no longer merely what he became after his 
death for his first disciples — the promised Messiah, 
who had to suffer and die so that he might be raised 
from the dead and taken up into heaven, whence he 
shall come to establish his kingdon^on earth. Though 
called " man " when set in antithesis to Adam, he 
is not thought of as having been a man in the 
ordinary sense; he is from heaven as Adam is 
from earth (xv. 47). This is the point of the com- 
parison (6 TTptJTog avOp(jjirog Ik ySc X®"^^^> ^ SciJrepoc 
15 ovpavov), which is not affected by the differ- 
ences of reading in the second clause. He is Christ, 
the Son of God, the ** one Lord " {elg icOpiog 
viii. 6), "the Lord of glory" (6 icOpiog t^c Srf^ic 
ii. 8), to the "called" the power and wisdom of 
God (i. 24). Because " the rulers of this world " did 
not know him as such, they crucified him in their 
ignorance, thinking him an ordinary man, Jesus 
(ii. 8). God raised him from the dead, as through 
him he will also raise those who have believed in the 
Gospel. Baptised in his name, they have broken 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 185 

with their guilty past, separated themselves as 
" saints " (ayioi) from the sinful world, and are 
justified. These, and those that shall afterwards add 
themselves to them, ol tov Xpi<rrov, are they for whom 
Christ died. 

Although not quite put on an equality with God, 
Christ is for this doctrine little less.^ Accordingly, 
the argument here in relation to the authorship is 
essentially the same as that which was founded on 
the doctrinal utterances in the Epistle to the Bomans. 
The Christological development is far greater than 
can be conceived in a contemporary of the earliest 
disciples, who had gone over to them from Judaism. 

Some Special Points. 

Many phrases and sayings that look like common 
forms indicate a later time than is consistent with the 
genuineness of the Epistle.^ A passage such as 
iv. 17, quite incomprehensible in the mouth of the 
actual Apostle, betrays the late writer even in its 
choice of words. As Paul and Timothy are there 
viewed in the light of traditional figures, so also are 
** the rest of the Apostles, and the brothers of the 
Lord, and Cephas " in ix. 5. In so far as xi. 23-25 
(28) and xv. 3-7 indicate a formula of communion 
and a closed list of appearances of the risen Lord, 
we are brought in contact with pieces which we 
cannot suppose to have existed in 57-58, not to 

^ Beference is here made especially to viii. 6. From a long series 
of passages the exalted oharacter ascribed to his diyine attributes 
is further shown. 

^ The following in particular are noted: — k\7jt6s dir<$oToXos and 
kXrjTol dyLOL (i. 1-2) ; tya rb o^A \4yrjT€ TrAjfrei (i. 10) ; koX oUrbit iv 
raZi iKK\rj(Tlaii Trdcraif Siardaffofuu (vii. 17); o6S^ al iKKXijclai rod Oeov 
(xi. 16); ii;f iv irdcrous reus iKKXrjfflous ruv aylufv (xiv. 33); 6 xal 
TrapcXd^erCf iv <} Kal iarfiKare (xv. 1). 



186 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

speak of 52-53, the assumed date of Paul's teaching 
at Corinth. The custom of being baptised for the 
dead who had died unbaptised (xv. 29) is first heard 
of among adherents of Cerinthus and Marcion. It is 
thought that the Apostle cannot have known of it 
and not opposed it ; yet the usage is mentioned with 
the approval of the writer. Hence innumerable 
attempts to alter the plain sense of the words or to 
modify the text — from our point of view, needless. 

A Written Gospel. 

To the indications of a later time belongs the use, 
which we may conjecture, of a written Gospel much 
like the Synoptics and most like Luke, but not to be 
identified with any of the three in the form known to 
us. The passage where reference is made to a 
command of the Lord regarding the indissolubility of 
marriage (ywaiica airb avSpog fifj ^(i>/oi(r04iHu, iii. 10) 
corresponds too closely with Matt. xix. 8-9 and Mark 
X. 2-12 {cf. Luke xvi. 18) to have had its source in an 
independent oral tradition. The mention of eating 
and drinking (^ayeiv icac Tr^Tv) in ix. 4 is only 
explicable if we see there an allusion to what is said 
in Luke X. 7 {Iv airy 8l ry olKiq, fiivBTB, B<rOovTeg ical 
irivovTeg ra trap avTwv' a^iog yap 6 Ipyarqq row fM<rOov 
ain-ov). The ordinance of the Lord that the 
preachers of the Gospel should live of the Gospel, 
cited in ix. 14, recalls, besides the foregoing passage 
of Luke, Matt. x. 9-10, Mark vi. 8-9, Luke ix. 8. 
This is not to be explained, however, by dependence 
of the author of the Epistle on our third Gospel in its 
present form. Bather the coincidence between 1 Cor. 
X. 27 (irav TO irapaTiOifievov vfuv efrdUre) and Luke X. 8 
(etrOuTe ra TrapariOifieva vfiiv), which can scarcely be 
accidental, betrays acquaintance with the Epistle on 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 187 

the part of the author of the Gospel. For, after what 
has been said in Luke x. 7, the admonition of verse 8 has 
no sense without tacit reference to the words added in 
the Epistle {firiSev avaKplvovreg Sia Trjv <TvveiSii<nv, X. 27). 
The faith that can remove mountains (xiii. 2) makes 
us think involuntarily of Matt. xvii. 20, xxi. 21, Luke 
xvii. 6; the last trumpet (xv. 52) of Matt. xxiv. 81. 
The passages on the institution of the Lord's supper 
and on the tradition regarding the resurrection support 
the same general view. The most probable conclusion 
is that ** Paul " and " Luke " drew from the same 
written Gospel.^ 

Books of Acts. 

A parallel conclusion is arrived at on comparison of 
our Epistle with Luke's second book, the Acts of the 
Apostles. Agreements and differences alike favour 
the view that the authors of both were dependent for 
their ** historical" details on an earlier book of Acts — 
namely, the Acts of Paul, signs of the use of which are 
visible also in the Epistle to the Bomans. Thus, 
while we cannot adduce dependence on the Canonical 
Acts as a proof of the relatively late origin of our 
Epistle, its late origin follows indirectly from the 
inferred relation between them. For the earlier book 
which served as Luke's principal authority for the 
career of Paul, was of course written after the death of 
its hero, and probably not before the end of the first 
century, as has already been seen. 

D. — Nationality of the Author. 
As a Christian, the writer looks down equally on 

^ Thus " Paul " has allusions to this (Gospel, which may have been 
a forerunner of the Canonical Luke; while *<Luke/' the final redactor 
of the third Gospel, was slightly influenced by contact with the 
emergent Pauline literature. 



188 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANB 

heathens and on Jews — the *' Israel after the flesh." 
Thus his speaking of the Israelites as " our fathers " 
proves notiiing in relation to his own nationality. 
He simply regards them as the spiritual ancestors of 
all Christians. He thinks as well as expresses himself 
in Greek. If he has to straggle with language, that 
is a consequence, not of using what is not his mother 
tongue, but of having the new thoughts of Christianity 
to express. It has even been shown by O. A. Deiss- 
mann {Die neutestamentliche Formel *Hn Christo Jew*," 
1892) that the ''new technical term/' iv Xpumf 
{lti<Tov)y a favourite formula with the author of the 
Epistle, is rooted in the usage, not of Jewish Alexan- 
drian, but of " profane " Greek, literature. In quoting 
or silently appropriating words from the Old Testa- 
ment, he uses the Septuagint. Only in three cases 
do we find divergent readings — namely, in iii. 19, 
xiv. 21, and xv. 54. In the first of these, another 
translation, or perhaps a citation by some apocryphal 
writer, was followed. In the second, it is known 
from Origen that the translation used was that of 
Aquila. In the third, the words as given agree with 
the translation of Theodotion, so that, if this is 
thought not to have been within the author's reach, 
an earlier translation followed by Theodotion must be 
held to have existed. Like Philo and Josephus, the 
author of the Epistle read the Old Testament in 
Greek; where he differs from them is in nowhere 
showing the least trace of acquaintance with Hebrew. 
The passage xv. 42b-43 (44), which seems to have 
been borrowed from an old Christian hymn, was 
evidently composed in Greek. The use of the word 
" barbarian " in xiv. 11 points to a writer who is of 
Greek nationality. The ascetic view about marriage 
has its predecessors among Greeks and Bomans rather 



THE FmST EPISTLE 189 

than among Jews.^ It would not have been easy for 
one who had been a Jew not merely to concede tacitly, 
bat to urge strongly, that a man should pray with 
his head uncovered. In fact, no one would ever have 
thought of taking the Epistle for the work of a born 
Jew if it did not purport to have been written by the 
Apostle Paul. The obvious " Jewish background " of 
the writing is common to it with all old Christian 
literature. If this were a proof of the writer's 
Jewish nationality, then it would follow that Justin 
Martyr was a Jew, though he himself tells us that his 
father and his grandfather were heathens. 

E. — Attempts at Parrying Difficvlties. 

The endeavours hitherto made to save the genuine- 
ness of the Epistle by concessions are not more satis- 
factory than they were found to be in the case of 
Bomans ; and commonly they have met with the sharpest 
rejection from those who might have been supposed 
their natural friends. The device of '' conjectural 
criticism," with its postulate of interpolations, and 
the attempt to rediscover genuine Pauline fragments 
put together in various editions till the form of the 
Canonical Epistle was reached, equally, in effect, 
sacrifice the Pauline character of the actual work. 
Moreover, they remain insufficient as against the 
argument from the doctrinal contents. To date the 

^ It may be said that there were the Essenes, who — even if, as has 
been thought, they borrowed their asoetio discipline from the Pytha- 
goreans—were a recognised Jewish sect and preceded the historical 
Paul. In the Epistle, however, we find already something of the 
peculiar and unlovely asceticism of monkish Christianity. Like the 
accompanying theology, this must have taken some time to grow up. 
Hence its presence^though perhaps not to be traced in its specific 
difference to any pre-existing type, Greek or Boman any more than 
Jewish — still supports the theory of late origin. 



190 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

Epistle merely a few years later, as has also been 
proposed in the case of Romans, is of no advantage 
at all. What gain can there be, for example, in view 
of such difficulties as have been set forth, in placing 
the composition of the four principal Epistles between 
the years 61 and 62 instead of between 55 and 59? 

F. — Arguments for Oentdneness. 

As in the defence of Romans, so also in that of 
Corinthians, the marks of the personality of Paul are 
appealed to. The argument, however, is of the same 
circular character. At its best, what is urged on the 
defensive amounts to acceptance of an unproved 
dogma till the negative shall have been demonstrated. 

G. — Conjectural Mode of Origin. 

Lost Letters of Paid. 

It is in the abstract possible that among the 
materials on which the redactor worked there were 
letters of the Apostle Paul ; and to many it seems 
more probable that such letters should have been the 
basis than that a whole Epistle should have been 
" invented." Invented so far as the contents were 
concerned, of course the Epistles were not ; and the 
plausibility of the use of genuinely Pauline material 
is only superficial. To take one or more colourless 
letters of Paul to Rome or Corinth, and make them 
the vehicle of an essentially new doctrinal system like 
" Paulinism," would have been more difficult than to 
put forth the system under the name of some one 
who had not written anything. And pseudepigraphio 
writings among Jews or Christians are not wont to 
trouble themselves about the question whether the 
persons to whom they were ascribed had ever written 
anything or not. Witness the Books of Daniel, 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 191 

Enoch, Adam, Lamech, Noah, Baruch ; the Revela- 
tions of Elijah and of Abraham ; the Testaments of 
the Twelve Patriarchs ; the fourth Gospel in so far as 
it claims to be held for the work of John, the disciple 
whom Jesus loved ; the Revelation of John ; New 
Testament Epistles of James and of Peter; Gospels of 
Thomas and of Nicodemus; Epistles of Barnabas, 
Ignatius, and so many others. 

PanMnism. 

In the sketch that has been given of the origin of 
Paulinism much, it is true, remains unexplained, but 
not all. And we are only at the beginning of investi- 
gation on the lines now opened out. We have at 
least gained thus much : that Paulinism does not 
stand incomprehensibly in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the first disciples of Jesus. We can think it 
as a reform, not of that which has scarcely seen the 
light, but of that which has existed at least half a 
century, and probably longer. There is no gap of 
from sixty to eighty years between a supposed 
vigorous withstanding of Peter by Paul and the con- 
tinuation of the strife by their followers. Instead of 
this break in the orderly course of things, there is an 
intelligible process of development. 

** Jesus dies on the cross.^ 

" His disciples are deeply cast down, but ere long 
take courage, and see in him the Messiah, who had 
to suffer and die before he could be glorified and 
return to establish his kingdom. 

"With that preaching they go forth to Jews and 
heathens ; while they devote themselves to a humble, 
serious life, marked by religious feeling and brotherly 

^ The paragrapha^in inverted commas are translated in full. 



192 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

love, in the spirit of Jesus, whose coming as Messiah 
they expect. 

"One of the first, and certainly one of the most 
zealous, who are active among the heathen for the 
preparation of his kingdom, is Paul. Although in his 
intercourse with non-Jews less scrupulous about the 
maintenance of orthodox customs, and freer than the 
others generally in his understanding of the law, he 
yet stands fundamentally on the same lines, and 
remains, like them, notwithstanding his new confes- 
sion, a faithful Jew. 

" What we call Paulinism, and know best from the 
New Testament * Epistles of Paul,' arises afterwards, 
in connexion with the budding Christian gnosis, 
under the influence of the Greek Alexandrian philo- 
sophy.^ Yet not out of the range of Judaism, and 
much less in independence of Christianity, already 
existent from fifty to seventy years as religious 
fellowship and confession of Jesus' earliest disciples. 
Paulinism is neither more nor less than a radical 
reform of this early Christianity. 

"But that reform is not everywhere relished. It 
meets with bitter opposition, with fierce antagonism 
by the side of warm approval — antagonism on the 
part of those who, although disciples of Jesus, and 
awaiting his coming as the Messiah (if they speak 
Greek, as the Christ) yet remain attached heart and 
soul to Judaism, its laws and precepts, institutions 
and usages. Their spiritual posterity become pre- 
sently the belated Ebionites. 

" Almost from its starting-point, Paulinism has a 
right and a left wing. By the latter its principles are 



^ That is, the philosophy of Greek-speaking Alexandrian Jews, as 
represented especially by Philo. 



THE FIRST EPISTLE 198 

one-sidedly developed, pushed to the limit, to divagate 
ere long into Marcionism. By the former those same 
principles are a little curtailed, pruned, modified, if 
possible brought into harmony with wishes and incli- 
nations, dispositions and ideas, of old believers who 
have connected themselves with the new movement or 
let themselves be taken in tow by it. These help to 
form the broad stream of rising Catholicism, which 
takes up everything into itself ; so far as they do not, 
like the Marcionites and other Gnostics, incline too 
much to the left, or, like the Ebionites and other 
Judaists, too strongly to the right. 

" Those are the main lines." 

The question whether, in the formation of Paulinism, 
"the Christ" or "the Alexandrian Son of God" is 
prior, offers nothing problematical, unless we feel our- 
selves obliged to doubt the historic existence of Jesus. 
If we are convinced that Jesus really existed, and that 
there is a historical kernel, difficult as it may be to 
bring to light, in the Gospel nariative, then we can 
answer without hesitation that it was the Christ who 
became the Son of God, and that, at an earlier stage, 
it was Jesus who had become the Christ. He became 
first the Christ (the Messiah) ; then Jesus Christ, or 
Christ (used as a proper name) ; then afterwards the 
Son of God. The pre-existence assigned to the super- 
natural Christ in the theological speculations of the 
Paulinists does not in the least affect this historical 
order of Christian ideas.^ 

^ Adoption of the mythical theory, it may be observed here, makes 
curiously little difference in the mode of representing the general 
order of the process. Though no real figure was the starting-point, 
yet a concrete popular myth, and not a quasi-philosophical conception, 
is to be placed at the beginning. First there is the story of Joshua or 
Jesus, the object of a cult, and afterwards of a belief that changes 

O 



194 THE EPISTLES TO THE COBINTHIANS 

The Author. 

To return to the author of our Epistle. He was 
unquestionably a Paulinist, as appears from his 
upholding of the honour and authority of Paul. At 
the same time, he was a Paulinist of the right wing. 
He sets himself especially against the extreme 
'' spiritualism " of the advanced Paulinists : their 
making light of '' fornication *' out of contempt for 
the body ; on the other side, the total opposition of 
some of them to marriage on ascetic grounds ; their 
freedom in eating of everything, whereby offence is 
given to other Christians ; the too great value they 
attach to spiritual gifts {ra irvcv/iiarcica), particularly 
to *' speaking with tongues "; their denial of the resur- 
rection—again in consequence of overdriven spiritu- 
alism. 

He is a practical man, with more care about life 
than doctrine. Doctrinal argument occupies only 
one chapter (zv.). He has an eye to the promotion of 
unity among believers and of order in their religious 
assemblies. Here the drift to Catholicism appears ; 
as no less in his urging content with the station in 
which each was called (vii. 12-24, xii. 18).^ Above 

with the change of the time and its ideals ; then the declaration that 
" this Jesus," said to have been preached by his " disciples,'* is "the 
Christ"; then the superinducing of the Alexandrian and Syrian 
Gnostic ideas on the Messiah identified with Jesus. The popular 
mythical development from the ancient cult is met half way by the 
mediating Logos of speculative imagination. From this union spring 
Pauline and Johannine Christianity. 

The names of " disciples *' (as has been suggested in the Introduc- 
tion), so far as they contain a reminiscence of real persons, are names 
of propagandists of Messianic Judaism, imaginatively transformed into 
the " apostles" of a personal Jesus, who was not merely to come (like 
the Messiah as at first conceived), but had already come. 

1 The slave, as has often been noted, is to be content with slavery, 



THE FmST EPISTLE 196 

all, it is seen in his quietly placing side by side 
divergent views on the same topic. We are no more 
entitled to regard this as due to interpolation than we 
are in the somewhat similar case of the fourth Gospel. 
The different utterances come to him from his 
different sources. His guiding aim is to further — on 
a Pauline basis — a practical Christianity above party 
divisions. 

It cannot be stated with certainty where he lived ; 
but most probably it was in the East — in Syria or 
Asia Minor ; rather in the neighbourhood of Antioch 
than at Bome. The use of the words Kiy^ac and 
fiapav aOa, without the translation we should expect 
if the work had been revised for Western readers, 
suggests this even as regards the final redaction. It 
is not probable that he was also the writer of the 
Epistle to the Romans, on whom rather he appears to 
be dependent. 

Relation to Romans. 

If, for example, we did not know Rom. v. 12-21, 
we should not fully seize what underlies 1 Cor. xv. 
21-22 ; compare also xv. 56 with Bom. vii. 8-9. The 
form in which Aquila and Priscilla (Prisca) are intro- 
duced in xvi. 19 (AKvXag kol Upi(TKa trifv ry kut oIkov 
avTtJv iKKkrimtjf) may well be derived from Rom. xvi. 

3, 5 (Ilpicncav koI 'AicuXav icat rfjv Kar oIkov axmav 

iKKkrimav). If this suggestion is adopted, we partly 
understand how the writer could let " All the brethren 
greet you " (xvi. 20) follow immediately on the saluta- 
tion of Aquila and Priscilla '* with the church that is 

which, indeed, the writer— like some of the Fathers afterwards- 
thought to be not without its spiritual advantages : doOXot iK\i/i6fit ; 
jjiT/j ffoi fieX^ifi' dXX* el xal dCpcurat iXeOSepos yep^a-Bou, fjLoKKop xp^^ 
(vii. 21). 



196 THE EPISTiiES TO THE COBINTHIANS 

in their house ": compare the two passages as wholes, 
noting in Rom. xvi. 4 the reference to ''all the 
churches of the Gentiles." The coincidence between 
the clauses of xvi. 20 and Rom. xvi. 16, of which the 
order is at the same time inverted, cannot be acci- 
dental. Stephanas and his house as the first-fruits 
(aTrapxfi) of Achaia (xvi. 15) have their precursor in 
Epsenetus {8g itmv aTrap\fi rrig ^A<rlag €ic Xpicrrov, 
Rom. xvi. 6). A concurrence of points of this 
kind seems to show that the Epistle to the Romans 
was the model. Its ideas are presupposed, and 
reminiscences of its phraseology float before the 
author's mind. 

Determination of Date. 

This relation helps us to fix limiting dates. Our 
Epistle is later than Romans (which, as was con- 
cluded, dates from about 120), but probably not much 
later. It plainly discloses its origin out of the same 
environment and the same direction of thought. The 
external evidence, as far as it goes, confirms this 
conclusion, testifying to its existence at a date which 
cannot be placed later than about 140. 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 

1. — Chabaotbb — Unity — Composition. 

Like the first Epistle, the second also was un- 
doubtedly meant to be taken for a letter ; but here 
again we find that the form is not in harmony with 
the reality. Two persons are mentioned as the 
writers — namely, Paul and Timothy — and the first 
person plural is frequently used. " Paul," however, 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 197 

does not take this seriously, as appears from his con- 
stant recurrence to the first person singular ; and in 
i. 19 he speaks of Timothy as if he stood quite out- 
side the correspondence. Again, there is the double 
address — to the Corinthians (i. 1, vi. 11, cf. i. 23) and 
to all the saints that are in all Achaia (i. 1, c/1 ix. 2, 
xi. 10). The corresponding doubleness of character 
is preserved all through, as in the case of the first 
Epistle. Many things seem to refer to the special 
circumstances of a particular community ; yet, on the 
whole, the impression is that we are reading a small 
treatise, a book in the form of a letter — not a letter in 
the ordinary sense, destined for a particular circle of 
readers. Its composite character has been perceived 
from the time of Semler (1776), but we must beware 
of exaggerating this. The Epistle is not a mere 
collection of fragments — ^genuine or otherwise — but 
has an undeniable relative unity. The style is 
throughout "Pauline." Nothing of importance in 
the composition is of alien origin. Nothing, that is 
to say, is marked with any impress but that of the 
Pauline groups. The manner is immediately distin- 
guishable from that of the fourth Evangelist, for 
example, or of James, or of Clement. And points of 
contact can be found between later and earlier 
sentences. The whole, indeed, is much like a path- 
less thicket, in comparison with which the first 
Epistle seems a well-ordered park (as Schmiedel has 
it) ; yet the confusion is not absolute. There is a 
certain general sequence. After the opening (i. 1-2) 
there follow three parts devoted to separate subjects, 
and a conclusion (xiii. 11-18). The first part (i. 8- 
vii. 16) is an account — and a defence — of Paul and 
his work in view of the relations in which he stands 
to his readers at Corinth. The aim of the second 



198 THE EPISTLES TO THE COBINTHIANS 

(viii.-ix.) is to promote a collection for the saints. 
The third (x.-xiii. 10) takes up the cause of the 
Apostle as against his opponents. And in somewhat 
more detail it is possible to give an orderly exposition 
of the movement of thought. At the same time, 
marks of the process by which the Epistle has been 
put together are innumerable. 

A. — Tracei of Juncture and Manipulation. 

Neither the whole nor the parts have the kind of 
literary unity we expect in writings proceeding 
originally from a single hand. Yet the repetitions of 
phrases from part to part show the presence of one 
redactor. Apparent contradictions are sometimes due 
to omissions in the phrases transferred. For example, 
the Epistle generally implies that Paul's approaching 
visit to Corinth is only the second (see especially 
i. 15). How is this to be reconciled with xiii. 1 
(Tpirov TOVTO ip\ofxai wpbg vfiag) ? Quite simply, by 
noting the omission of part of a phrase transferred 
from xii. 14 {rplrov tovto holfnog i\(M) iXOiiv wpbg 
vfiag). With this omission may be compared, in the 
second portion of xiii. 1 (cttI (rroimTOQ Svo fiapripiov 
Kai Tpiiov (TTaOriaeTai irav /o^/ua), the abbreviation of the 
words from Deut. xix. 15, which in the Septuagint 
run : hr\ arofiaroc Svo fiaprvptjv koX Itti (rrofxaroq 
Tpiisyv fxapTvpwv oriJacTae vav prifm. It is to be 
observed that the author repeats himself, just as 
he quotes an Old Testament writer, without indi- 
cating it. 

Most remarkable is the contrast of tone between the 
first and the third parts. In the first the Apostle's 
attitude is characteristically friendly ; in the third it 
is almost hostile. Yet even here the relative unity of 
the whole becomes manifest on closer study. There 



THE SECOND EPISTHB 199 

are passages that are sharp in tone in the first part ; 
and in the third there are not wanting expressions of 
tenderness. Many verses in the third part are intelli- 
gible only by reference to corresponding ones in the 
first. If the repetition (Karivavn Oeov iv Xpurri^ 
XaXov/i€v) in ii. 17 and xii. 19 is not accidental, the 
place where the phrase is original is evidently the 
former passage. Dependence on earlier "Pauline" 
writings is indicated especially by the conclusion. 
After one word (icara/oTf^€(T0€, xiii. 11) referring back 
to an earlier verse (t^v vfiwv KaraprKriv, xiii. 9)/ and 
another perhaps to the beginning of the Epistle 
(wapaicaXeiaOe, cf. i. 4, 6), we have others recalling 
passages in Bomans (to avrb i^poveXre, cf. Bom. xii. 
16, XV. 5; £t/9T)V8U£r€, cf. Bom. xii. 18; koL 6 Otog tiJc 
ayairrig Koi elprivrig Icrrai fuff* vfitJVf cf. Bom. XV. 83). 
The greetings of xiii. 12 recall Bom. xvi. 16, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 20. The blessing of xiii. 13 is that of Bom. xvi. 
20, 1 Cor. xvi. 23 in an extended form. 

B. — Witnesses for the Existence of Shorter Epistles. 

The oldest and best witness for earlier Pauline 
Epistles is the author himself in x. 9-11 (cf. i. 18). 
This reference to Epistles — not merely to an Epistle, 
as in other passages — shows irrefutably that for the 
composition of our document earlier ones of the same 
kind may have been used ; but beyond this possibility 
we are not entitled to go. In favour of the conjecture 
that the second Epistle to the Corinthians existed in 
a shorter form, only Marcion can be cited ; and, over 
and above the general argument that he was accused 
by the Catholics of mutilating the texts — and hence 



^ This echo, as is noted, shows that the passage is in place, in spite 
of the change of tone from the preceding verses. 



200 



THE EPISTLES TO THE OOBINTHIANS 



presumably used shorter ones — ^little can be found 
specifically to support the opinion that he possessed 
a text different from ours. Modem critics, indeed, 
have more and more tended to the hypothesis of 
composition from (epistolary) fragments; but with 
little agreement in detail, except that they frequently 
coincide in a remarkable manner as to the plaees 
where the sutures are to be found. All this — ^like 
the argument for two editions which may be based 
on the double address of the Epistle in its present 
form — offers merely general confirmation of the view, 
arrived at by analysis, that older materials have been 
worked up into a new whole. 

(7. — Concltmon. 

Analysis, however, makes this position in itself 
secure. No one writing an actual letter produces a 
composition such as we have before us. The probable 
mode of construction from the presumed " Pauline " 
materials may be illustrated by the use made of the 
Old Testament, often without any sign that the 
writer is quoting. Compare, for example, iii. 7-16 
with Ex. xxxiv. 29-35, and note the literal transference 
of phrases along with the complex re-arrangement : — 



2 Cor. iii. 
(Shftc fjL^ diljpaaOcu dreviffai rods 
vloifs *l<rpa^\ els t6 Trp6a(airo¥ 

Mwwr^ws (7) deSd^ffTai (10) 

.... Muivtr^s iriOei KdXv/xfAa ^irl rb 
Tpdaunroy iavroO (13)....r^ dedo- 
^oLfffUvov (10) .... Mwwr^s. . . ,i}viKa 
bk idiv iTTurTpiyj/xi irpbi KJ^pioy, irc- 
piaipcirai rb Kokufifia (16). 



Ex. xxxiv. 

35. Kal el^ov ol vldi 'lo'paffX rb 
Tp&r(jnrov 'M.iawr^un, Sri 8€d6^oumu. 
Kal ir€pi4$riK€ Muwriji KoKvfifM iwl 
rb Trpdffbiirop iavroD. . . . 

30 ^y dcdo^offfUvfi if 6\fat. . 

34. ijylKa S^&p eUreropeiero 
Mwva-^s ivavTi Kvpiov.,,., ire/N]^- 
peiTO rb Kd\v/J,/Mi .... 



Again, what is given in vi. 16-18 as spoken by Qod is 
a combination of words borrowed from Lev. xxvi. 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 201 

11-12, Is. lii. 11, Zeph. iii. 20, Jer. xxxi. 9, 83, 
2 Sam. vii. 14.^ 

Still, while they throw light on the mode of compo- 
sition, the nature of these citations from the Old 
Testament makes it clear at the same time that, in 
the case of lost works, there can be no reasonable 
hope of going beyond generalities and actually 
reconstructing the writings on which the redaction 
proceeded. 

2. — ^Whence Came the Epistle? 

Although the analysis, in the case of this as of the 
former Epistles, in effect decides against the Apostolic 
authorship, and assigns the work with high proba- 
bility to a later time than that of Paul, it seems 
desirable, as before, to investigate the question of 
genuineness anew from a different starting-point. 

A, — Improbahility of the Tradition. 

Let us consent to waive, as affecting only the form, 
the questions why Timothy is mentioned as one of 
the writers, though his part in the correspondence 
never seriously counts, and why the Epistle is said to 
be addressed at once to the Corinthians and to a 
wider circle of readers. We are still left face to face 
with insuperable difficulties that stand in the way of 
reconciling the contents with anything like the 
traditional assumptions. 

The Occasion of the Writing. 

Commentators have not been slow to explain how 
Paul came to write the letter, and what is its relation 

^ Many more such transferences are noted ; but these seemed to 
furnish sufficient illustration. Compare what is said in the oases of 
Bom. and 1 Cor. 



202 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

to the first Epistle to the Corinthians or to supposed 
lost Epistles. He who possesses the power to create 
out of nothing can do wonders ; and no doubt it is 
possible to imagine all sorts of circumstances that 
may have led Paul to write as he did. All the liberty 
of imagination that may be conceded, however, is 
insufficient to avoid irreconcilable contradictions 
between the hypotheses elaborated and the Epistle as 
it stands. 

Connexion with our first Epistle is evident. As in 
1 Cor. iv. 18-21, xi. 34, xvi. 2-7, so also in 2 Cor. 1, 
15, 16, 23, ii. 1, 8, ix. 4, xii. 14, 20, xiii. 1, 2, 10, 
Paul hopes speedily to come. It is to be his second 
visit (i. 15, xiii. 2). The letter indicated in ii. 1-11, 
vii. 7-16 is clearly no other than the first Epistle to the 
Corinthians, as appears even from the verbal echoes 
of 1 Cor. V. The Apostle has gone, according to his 
plan touched upon in 1 Cor. xvi. 5, from Ephesus to 
Troas and thence to Macedonia ; see 2 Cor. ii. 12, 18, 
vii. 5, ix. 4. Troubled of late about the continued 
absence of Titus, and in connexion with it about the 
effect of his former letter, he is now comforted 
(vii. 6-7). 

On the other hand, Titus, referred to here as a 
known personage and as having reported on the effect 
of the former letter (vii. 6-11, cf. ii. 12-18), is not 
even mentioned in our first Epistle. Paul, it is true, 
has gone to Macedonia, but not to Greece, as we 
should have expected from 1 Cor. xvi. 5 ; the more so 
as in the meantime he has received satisfactory news 
from Titus. The fear of having to use sharpness 
(xiii. 10) can scarcely pass for a valid reason against 
coming, now that most have submitted. 

Above all, the case dealt with in 1 Cor. v. is an 
entirely different one from that which is taken account 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 203 

of in 2 Cor. ii. 1-11, vii. 7-16. There it was for the 
writer wopveta of extreme gravity, and could not have 
been passed over so easily on the offender's repentance. 

In the first Epistle Paul stands entirely outside the 
case as a judge; in the second, the case is such that 
others might think it had touched him personally 
(ii. 5). The punishment inflicted in obedience to his 
wish (ii. 6, 9) cannot have been the death-sentence 
hinted at in 1 Cor. v. For the person who has 
done the wrong (6 aSiicfiaag, vii. 12; nothing is 
said of TTopveta) is to be received again into the love 
of all. 

The inducement to the writing of the Apostolic 
letter remains unknown ; not because we are imper- 
fectly informed, but because the particular circum- 
stances, apparently clear as crystal, are not much 
more than words. They are rooted, not directly in 
actual life, but in younger imaginative representations 
of it. They lack the solidity that can only be derived 
from the living to-day or the historical past. They 
are wavering. 

The Relation between Paul and the Corinthians. 

Directing our attention to certain passages, we 
might say that the Apostle is on the best and most 
intimate terms with the community founded by him. 
But how, then, has it come about that such a 
vehement defence of his person and work is neces- 
sary ? What has happened in the interval ? We are 
not told, and we are no wiser for reading the Epistle. 
Why need he remind his readers of the excellence of 
his life and conversation among them (i. 12), and dis- 
tinguish himself from the many who deal corruptly 
(o£ TToXXot KaTTTiXivovTBg Tov \6yov Tov Oioif, ii. 17) ? 
Do they not know who he is ? — that, for example, he 



204 THE EPISTHBS TO THE OOBINTHIANS 

does not preach himself but Jesus Christ (iv. 6) ?^ 
They have given full proof of their sorrow for what 
they have done amiss. The Apostle is satisfied, and 
endeavours to console them in their contrition ; yet he 
does not hasten from Macedonia to his erring and now 
repentant spiritual children, but writes them a letter 
containing some of the sharpest passages of rebuke 
that ever came from his hand. But now the parts 
are reversed. It is he who has grieved them, although 
with the best intentions. At the same time, he tells 
them that he will take nothing from them, though he 
has taken from others to do them service (xi. 7-12, 
xii. 18-18). And the whole apology is for their edifi- 
cation (xii. 19, xiii. 10) ! Comprehend that who can. 
No distinct view of the relations in question can be 
formed unless we are content with an arbitrary selec- 
tion of single features to the complete ignoring of 
all the rest. If we bring together fairly all that the 
Epistle sets before us, we cannot represent to our- 
selves otherwise than confusedly either the relation of 
the Corinthians to Paul or of Paul to the Corinthians. 
And this wavering character of the image derived from 
the whole is not due to our being imperfectly informed 
of particulars which stood plain before the eyes of 
writer and readers, but to the mutual conflict of the 
particulars themselves. 

Oppanents. 

Who are the opponents in view in the Epistle? 
They are generally thought to be Judaisers ; yet not 
even the words "law" and "circumcision" occur. 
Sometimes, indeed, the author seems to have in view 

^ Elsewhere a contradiction in this verse, suggestive of manipula- 
tion, is noted : " We preach not ourselves. . . .but ourselves,*' etc. 



THE SECOND EPISTHB 205 

persons coming from outside with letters of intro- 
duction (iii. 1), by whom the other Apostles are set 
against and placed above Paul as having known 
Christ in his earthly life, and as unquestionably in 
the literal sense Hebrews, Israelites, the seed of 
Abraham (xi. 22). Yet it is difficult to conceive how, 
to the consciousness of the distant Corinthians, '* the 
Twelve," or the chief among them, " Peter, James, 
and John," could present themselves as already a 
closed college, oi vwipXtav awotrroXoi (xi. 5, xii. 11), in 
comparison with whom Paul, the Apostle of the 
heathen, by whom their own community had been 
founded, was nothing. And, in fact, there are many 
strokes in the Epistle which show the opponents of 
Paul in quite another light than that of Judaisers. 
He has to defend himself — and this in greater 
measure — against the accusations of those opponents 
that he had walked according to the flesh (i. 17) and 
not according to the spirit. They contrast his per- 
sonal insignificance (in the past) with the weightiness 
of his letters (x. 10, cf. i. 18, x. 1-6). They are 
disobedient, and regard themselves as superior to him, 
because they have outgrown him (x. 6, 12). Against 
their presumption he appeals to the visions and 
revelations granted him (xii. 1), and sketches his 
triumphal march in the service of the deepest gnosis 
(ii. 14-16). These are the " hyper-Paulinists," 
treated already with disapproval in the first Epistle. 
Now, if we allow that the existence of such a group at 
Corinth is at all intelligible after so short a time, how 
shall we explain the way in which the author mixes 
them up — as he does especially in c. xi. — ^with those 
who placed the great Apostle behind the Twelve or 
their heads? For the ''false Apostles" (\psvSair6aToXoi) 
of xi. 18 are not to be identified with the ''very 



206 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

chiefest Apostles " (vwepXlav air6<rTo\oi) of zi. 5. Had 
Paul himself been the writer, he would certainly have 
known how to distinguish more clearly between such 
different classes of opponents. 

We can understand it all only if we assume that 
many decades had elapsed between the foundation of 
the community at Corinth and the writing of the 
Epistle. The author of the work chose the form of 
a letter ; but his purpose was quite other than to 
preserve that form with propriety. What he aimed at 
was, as a good Paulinist, to champion the Apostle at 
once against the advanced who contested his truly 
" Pauline " character as a preacher of the new 
''spiritual" Gospel, and against those who, out of 
conservatism, contested his truly Apostolic character 
as an equal of the first disciples of Jesus. The rest 
was merely clothing. To furnish a pretext for the 
writing of what is really an apology for Paul (8ri v/ulv 
airoXoyovfuOa, xii. 19) and a glorification of his 
career, he seized upon fragments of written and oral 
tradition. Had he been a greater artist, he would not 
have committed the faults by which he betrays his 
later date. As it is, more than sufficient signs are 
left to convince us of the incorrectness of the tradi- 
tion that the Epistle was written by Paul about the 
year 57 or 58. 

B. — Indications of a Later Time. 

Paul. 

Paul is no longer the well-known teacher and 
preacher with whose life among them his Corinthian 
converts have been familiar for a year and a half. 
The remembrance of his personality has grown dim. 
On the one hand, he can safely be placed in a new 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 207 

light ; on the other hand, it is necessary to draw a 
picture of him for those who have neither known him 
nor seen him at work. The founder of Christian 
communities among the heathen has become a high 
authority. " An Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will 
of God "he is made to declare himself (i. 1). His 
life ** in the world " can be looked back upon as a 
completed whole (Iv xapin Ocov avzarpai^'iiifuv iv rti^ 
KOGfit]^, Trepi(T(TOTip(i}g Sc npog vfiacy i. 12). Observe 
how his career is celebrated in such passages as 
iv. 8-10, the opening of c. vi. and xi. 23-27. Signs 
and wonders and mighty deeds are appealed to as 
proofs of his right to the Apostleship (xii. 12). 

A double tradition is now current about him. On 
one side he is the simple preacher of the Gospel, who 
knew nothing of the advanced " spiritual " doctrine. 
On the other side he is already the writer of letters 
circulating in his name and setting forth this doctrine. 
The author of our Epistle is thus impelled to show 
that the opposition between the two characters is due 
to a misunderstanding ; that it was really the same 
Paul who preached at Corinth and who composed 
letters to the Corinthians. The advanced Christians 
of Corinth were not beyond his measure; in his 
preaching he came as far as to them also (a-xpi yap 
Kai vfAiov e^OatrafAev iv rt^ eifayyeXif^ rov XpiaroVf 
X. 14). He may from time to time assume a 
tone of self-deprecation or of pleading with his 
children : usually he carries it as one clothed with 
the highest authority (i. 23, xiii. 2, cf. x. 2). He 
praises those that are obedient. He stands, as it were, 
above them all. Upon him, it is said in so many 
words, rests daily the care of all the churches 
(ri liridTamg 17 Kaff -qfiipavj ii fiipifiva iramSv rwv 
tKKXriffiwVf xi. 28). This can seem quite simple and 



208 THE EPISTLES TO THE OOBINTHIANS 

comprehensible only to those for whom Paul has 
ceased to be merely an eminent man who is still of 
flesh and blood, and has become an ideal figure, 
absent always, yet present or able to be presenty 
directing his words nominally to a single community, 
but really to the whole of Christendom. 

The Community, 

No single feature brings before us the circle at 
Corinth as a community just called into life. A much 
longer existence than the five and a half years at most 
of the ordinary tradition is tacitly pre-supposed. 

Oppression has come, and consolation is needed : 
whole troops can be addressed as partakers of the 
sufferings of Christ (i. 8-7). They stand fast in the 
faith (i. 24). They exercise discipline, and are con- 
fronted with the question how far forgiveness shall be 
accorded to the penitent sinner (ii. 5-11). They give 
and receive letters of commendation (iii. 1), and can 
be described metaphorically as an epistle written in 
the Apostle's heart, " known and read of all men " 
(iii. 2, 8). They are troubled- by aliens, to whom all 
sorts of mischiefs are attributed (ii. 17, iv. 2, xi. 4, 20). 
Some who have undergone the influence of these have 
learned to respect only the older Apostles, to the ex- 
clusion of Paul (xi. 5, xii. 11). Some esteem them- 
selves superior to Paul the actual teacher, and respect 
only the Paul of the epistolary literature, whom they 
distinguish from the first. Some, again, are Paulinista 
after the author's own heart, and confess the faith in 
subjection (c/l ix. 18, So^a^ovrcc tov Oeov iwl rg 
vTTOTayy Trjg ofioXoytag vjulCjv elg to ivayy(\iov 
Toif XpifTTov). All this diversity, well considered, 
points to a later period than the first few years after 
the foundation of the community. Even the supposed 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 209 

comparison of its advantages with those of ''the 
other communities" (xii. 13) — ^if this was ever 
possible in the sense intended — cannot have been 
very early instituted. 

Doctrinal Utterances. 

Here, too, as in the first Epistle, the doctrinal 
expressions, though not very numerous, give suffi- 
cient indications of a time later than that traditionally 
assigned to Paul. 

Christianity stands over against Judaism as the new 
against the old, as that which endures against that 
which passes. The point of view of the law is so 
completely transcended that its very name is not 
mentioned ; although the author does not refuse to 
allow the relative value of '* Moses," and makes use 
of the Scripture. The old, however, in his opinion^ 
'* is done away in Christ " (iii. 14). Equally decisive 
is the break with heathenism {avofiia^ <rK6Tog). 
The faithful are to separate themselves from ''un- 
believers " (vi. 14-vii. 1). Far from being still first 
of all or exclusively a Messianic movement attached to 
the life and work of Jesul of Nazareth, Christianity 
comes forward as a new revelation, " the word of 
God " (ii. 17, iv. 2), " the knowledge of God " (x. 5), 
" the knowledge of the glory of God " (iv. 6). The 
Christian communities are x God's Churches (i. 1). 
Jesus has so long been regarded as the Messiah (" the 
Christ") that "Christ" has become his usual name. 
To the knowledge of his life on earth little or no value 
is now attached (v. 16). He is the Son of God, and 
is preached as such (i.l9). He is God's image (iv. 4), 
and grace and peace can come from him as from God 
(i. 2, xiii. 18). He is not a man who has become God, 
but rather a God become man, who, being rich, 

p 



910 THE EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS 

became poor for the sake of men (viii. 9). God 
** made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin " (v. 21, 
cf. Bom. viii. 8). He has suffered and died (i. 5, 
iv. 10, V. 15). God has raised him up (iv. 14, v. 15). 
The believer is in him a new creature (v. 17), who 
partakes of his sufferings in order to live a new life 
with him. Those whom he has called to preach his 
gospel (to €vayyi\iov rov Xpifrrov) are his glory (i6^a 
XpecFTov, viii. 28). They speak "in Christ," "after 
the Lord," as Christ speaks in them (xiii. 8). Their 
endeavour is to bring all into captivity "to the 
obedience of Christ" (x. 5). 

Acquaintance with gnosis is unmistakeable. Not 
God but Satan is "the God of this world" (iv. 4). 
The much-discussed " thorn in the flesh " (xii. 7), 
which evidently means some bodily suffering, is 
called " a messenger of Satan " (ayyekog traTava) : God 
is nowhere said to be the cause of physical evil. The 
Apostle's prayer to the Lord — that is, to Christ — ^that 
he (the " messenger ") might depart from him (xii. 8) 
implies that the Lord, as in the Gospels, has power to 
cast out demons. Paul's recognition, after the failure 
of his request, that the " buffeting " is for^l^s good, 
does not mean that it comes directly frouQ^Q^ : the 
contrary is asserted. 

The antitheses of Gnosticism are found : flesh and 
spirit (<ra/o£ and irvevfia^ Kara aapKa and Kara irv€v/ua) 
and so forth. For others in rapid succession see vi. 
14—15 : ^iKaiotTvvKi and avofda^ i^CtQ and cricorocy Xpi<rT6Q 
and BeXtap. Observe the high esteem in which visions 
and revelations are held (xii. 1) and the making light 
of tradition (v. 16). The strong anti -Judaism of iii. 
6-18 is, of course, Gnostic. Knowledge (yvimg) is 
glorified (xi.6), and is placed side by side with faith and 
" utterance " (ttIotbi koX Xdyt^ koI yvfiaut viii. 7). 



THE SECOND EHSTLE 211 

Many special modes of expression also are strongly 
Gnostic.^ 

The Collection. 

The indeterminateness of the references to the 
contribution for the saints (cc. viii.-ix.) shows that 
the author does not live in the surroundings which, as 
Paul, he presupposes. We learn neither who those 
saints are nor what is their especial claim. The 
particulars with which he tries to clothe his general 
exhortations to liberality are uncertain, wavering, 
and scarcely compatible mutually. The whole is 
intelligible only if we suppose that he had heard or 
read of a collection made by Paul for the Christians 
at Jerusalem, in return for which the Apostle had 
received blame instead of thanks. This he makes a 
peg on which to hang a vindication of the authority 
of Paul, and to commend to his readers the example 
of liberality to needy brethren in other parts of the 
world set by the Macedonians, Corinthians, and 
Achaians of the early time. Such expressions as 
those of viii. 18 (o5 6 eiraivog iv r({> evayyeXltf) 8m iraffwv 
TU)v eKK\ri(Ttwv) and of the next verse (xeipoTovriOilg vtto 
Twv €»cicXij<nwv) furnish by themselves a sufficient 
proof that the years in which the Gospel was first 
preached are in the past. 

Special Points. 

Other attempts at detailed circumstance are of the 
same kind. Observe how the figure of the person 

^ Of these the following are cited : tA /rpwrrA Trjs al(rx^y7js, tfxufipiaffis 
TTJs dXrjdelas, airydaai rhv (pwrurfibv rov €da77eX£ou rrjt 56^$ rod Xpurrw, 
<pum(riJ,6s rijs yy(i>(r€<as rrjs dd^s rov 0coO (iv. 2, 4, 6) ; Xoyurfiods 
KaOaLpoOvres kuI irav (J^wfta ivoup6fJicvoy xarA ttjs yptixrewi rw ^eou(z. 6); 
oi ydp 8vvdfJL€0d ri icarA t^j dXtfOelas, dXXA (nrip ttjs dXriBelaSf 
(xiii. 8). The vividly gnostic phraseology in the celebration of the 
Apostle's triumph (ii. 14-16) is again noted. 



SIS THB EPI8TI1B8 TO THE G0BINTHIAN8 

mentioned in ii. 1-11 floats in the vague. He is 
presented to the reader merely as '' anyone/' " such a 
one " (tic, 6 roiovrog) ; in short, he is a type. The 
author is not concerned with him in particular, but 
with the question for the present and the future, 
How to deal with a penitent sinner. The same is 
true of his double, the person ''that had done the 
wrong" (6 aSucfiaag, vii. 12), of "the matter" (ro 
irpayfia) that was its subject, and of him "that 
suffered wrong " (6 aiiKtiOitg) : see vii. 6-16. The so- 
called historical background is a hypothetical case, 
nothing more.^ 

Books of Acts. 

The use of a written Gospel cannot be demonstrated; 
though the words of i. 17 (ro vol vat koI to oS oS) 
suggest Matt. v. 87, and the reference to the meekness 
of Christ in x. 1 recalls Matt. zi. 29, while the words 
borrowed in ziii. 1 from Deut. ziz. 15 are rather 
closer to Matt, xviii. 16 than they are to the Septua- 
gint. On the other hand, dependence on Acts of 
Pavly as in the first Epistle, is unmistakeable. This is 
shown by the agreements with our Canonical Acts of 
the Apostles taken along with the deviations; for 
the phenomena are explicable by supposing use of 



^ This interpretation seems to be confirmed by 1 Thess. iv. 6. 
Note the identity between the phrase of 2 Cor. vii. 11 (iv rf wpayfMn) 
and that which occurs here (t6 fi^ {nreppaLFeip xal TXeoreicrecF 
i¥ rjl vpdyfMTi rhp ddeX^dv airrov). The Authorised Version 
translates, ** That no man go beyond and defraud his brother 
in any matter"; recognising the inappropriateness of the phrase **in 
the matter '' by retaining it only as a marginal note. If this con- 
jecture is right, the definite article forms a curious example of a 
** yestige," sunriving where even the outline of a particular case has 
disappeared, and admirably illustrates Van Manen*s theory of the 
mode of composition of an Apostolic letter. 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 213 

the same underlying document. The escape from 
Damascus, for example, is described somewhat 
differently in 2 Cor. xi. 32-33 and in Acts ix. 23-25. 
The lists of afflictions undergone by Paul (2 Cor. yi. 
4-5, xi. 23-28) find no satisfactory explanation in the 
Canonical Acts. These, however, are perhaps also in 
great part independent of the Acts of Pavi. In them 
we may see another retrospect of the great combatant's 
life after its completion. 

C. — Attempts at Parrying Difficulties, 

To meet objections against the Pauline authorship 
an extension of the lapse of time between the two 
Epistles from half a year to a year and a half has 
been proposed. By means of this and similar sugges- 
tions, and by expulsion of supposed interpolations, 
some difficulties might be removed ; but the negative 
case as a whole is left substantially unaffected. The 
hypothesis of construction from fragments in whole or 
in part Pauline does not save the genuineness of the 
Epistle as it stands. And at best it can meet only 
the objections that have reference to the form ; while 
the most important part of the case rests on the 
contents. Till something of more positive value is 
advanced in favour of the traditional view, we may, 
without further attention to it, go on to inquire into 
the origin of the Epistle. 

D. — Conjectural Mode of Origin. 

The Author and his Aim. 

The author was probably a Greek by birth and not 
a Jew. By inadvertence he makes Paul speak of 
" Jews " (xi. 24) as if he were not a Jew himself. In 
no quotation of his from the Old Testament is 



dl4 THE EPISTLBS TO THE COfilKTHlAKS 



acquaintance with the Hebrew text presnmable. He 
uses the Greek of the Septuagint. That his mind 
had been formed under the influence of Jewish modes 
of thought and expression is merely a part of the 
Christian development in general, and does not 
distinguish him. 

Among the Paulinists his position is to the right 
rather than to the left. He does not reject the other 
Apostles in the name of Paul, though in his estima- 
tion Paul stands higher. He places the new or 
Christian dispensation above the old or Mosaic, but 
without expressing hostility to the law as such. He 
is content that it should be regarded as a passing 
phase, which the Jews cannot understand because 
they take it to be permanent. 

His aim is to champion his Paul. The Epistle may 
be called an apology for Faulinism, as the author 
conceives it. As Paul, he assures his readers that he 
is not engaged in commending himself — while, in 
fact, he is doing nothing else — but that he is providing 
them with matter for boasting in him (v. 12). All 
this pleading for the authority of the Apostle, how- 
ever, has a practical aim. The writer possesses 
letters circulating in the name of Paul, but they seem 
to him to need supplementing ; otherwise, he would 
not have attempted a new composition. The way in 
which he tries to improve on the material in his hands 
is well seen in the case of Church discipline. This is to 
be maintained : to that purpose he had read 1 Cor. v. 
At the same time, he desired to show that there were 
cases in which it might be applied in a less rigorous 
manner. In the light of this softening tendency, we 
can read with intelligence the passages already dis- 
cussed that bear on the repentant sinner. 



THE SECOND EPISTLE 216 

Relation to the First Epistle. 

This example is instructive also because it clearly 
shows that the author of the second Epistle was 
acquainted with the first, but that he was not the 
person from whose hand it proceeded. He attaches 
himself to it, and is dependent on it, as is evident 
from innumerable points of contact. His Epistle, 
however, has a character of its own. It, does not, like 
the first, present the appearance of a series of small 
treatises ; but, while resembling it in its discontinuous 
movement, is in the main a vindication of Paul's 
person for the edification of the community — that is, 
in reality, of any Christian community, without local 
reference. Acquaintance with the first Epistle to the 
Corinthians renders acquaintance with Romans likely; 
and this likelihood is confirmed by comparison of 
particular passages. 

Determination of Date. 

The close relation to the first Epistle makes the 
conclusion safe that the second was written not long 
after it. The author finds himself in the same 
circumstances of contention. He, too, lives in those 
days of the development of Paulinism which preceded 
the recognition of " Paul " outside the circles of the 
*' heretics " and the taking up of " the Apostle " into 
the broad stream of the growing Catholic Church. 
With this approximation to the date the external 
evidence is in agreement. 

Confirmation of the general view is found in the 
Apology of Aristides. That Apology, written probably 
between 125 and 130, shows acquaintance with the 
Pauline writings, especially with tbe Epistle to the 
Romans. Christianity, as in the Epistles, has become